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'And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet' Matthew 24:6
Tony Cartalucci - Just a Lousy Journalist?
18th April 2011 London
Tony Cartalucci has written prolifically on the political turmoil in Thailand. His writing focuses on the International dimension; the foreign interference in Thailand. While there is no doubt that no nation is an island and foreign groups with their own agendas interfere in all nations for their own personal ends, Tony has been very selective in which foreign groups he writes on, what their intentions are and who they work with in Thailand. I write now to expose some of the glaring omissions he has purposefully made and encourage you to ask; What groups does this foreigner in Thailand belong to and what is his agenda?
I have been aware of his work for a year now. It started with the tragic events in Bangkok. Protesters were gunned down, soldiers died too, and foreign journalists, nurses and emergency workers were killed too, even delivery boys going about their business were gunned down. Tony, in his article 'Thailand's Thaksin Shinwatra, Marxists, and the NWO', immediately highlighted the incontestable facts that the ousted Prime Minister Thaksin had worked with the Carlyle Group.
He writes of the protesters as 'ignorant', 'programmed' and 'conditioned with Maoist/Marxist techniques', a 'mob' of 'communists' and 'terrorists' who will turn Thailand into a 'corporate fascist bloc' and have it rolled into ASEAN. 'Dupes' and 'stooges' led by Thaksin who is in turn led by Western Imperialists. It's important to point out at this juncture that the red in the Thai Flag represents the Thai people. This is why they have chosen to be a Red Movement, it is not a left wing movement, it encompasses all of the common people of Thailand.
Over the period of a year he continued along the same vein and added further incontestable facts to his writing. Thaksin was in the Council on Foreign Relations. The International Crisis Group has worked in Thailand, as has Freedom House and The National Endowment for Democracy. He has also continued with his nationalist ideological writing, praising the currently unelected government and Thai nationalists, while condemning all that they condemn with a fierce and violent passion; Highlighting some realities in Thailand such as the lax approach to enforcing Intellectual Property rights to essential drugs, which can not honestly be attributed to any political faction, and attributing them to the nationalists.
What follows is not so much a defence of the Red Movement, it's purpose is to provide a clearer and truer picture of the situation in Thailand. A response to the nationalist demagoguery of Tony Cartalucci's contrived and deceptive polemic.
Perhaps, we should start with some glaring omissions.
Anand Panyarachun is a former Thai Prime Minister, a regular speaker at anti-Thaksin and anti-Red rallies. He was also a member of the Carlyle Asia Advisory Board. He, however, remained on the board for three years more than Thaksin, who left in 2001. Anand only left when the board was disbanded in 2004. He supported the military coup which ousted Thaksin and was surprised that the international community condemned it. He has sat with George W. Bush at the Global Leadership Foundation. Advised GE and AIG. Is a member of the CFR, UNICEF. The list goes on and on.
And so, the first questions arises; Who is more intimately linked with Western interests? Who is 'handled by Globalist Masters'? Why was Anand surprised by international condemnation of the coup?
Surin Pitsuwan is another opponent of Thaksin and a 2006 coup supporter. "This, in a nutshell, is former Thai foreign minister Surin Pitsuwan's analysis of recent political upheavals that plagued his country. Speaking at an 'Asian Voices' seminar in Brussels, Belgium, the director of Thailand's Democratic Party believed that democracy did not die in the coup led by army general Sonthi Boonyaratklin, but was, in fact, saved just in time."
"He is currently on the Advisory Board of the International Crisis Group (ICG); a member of the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York; He was nominated by the Royal Thai Government and endorsed by ASEAN Leaders to be ASEAN Secretary-General for year 2008- 2012."
Yet another high ranking opponent of Thaksin who supported the 2006 coup. The BBC quoted Senator Mechai Viravaidya as saying, "I'm delighted he's gone,"
He received money and an award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for his work on family planning which saw one of the most rapid declines in fertility in modern history. He also received the UN population award and was appointed UNAIDS Ambassador. As head of Thailand's largest NGO, he is not alone in coming out in support of nationalists as the vast majority of Thai NGOs are funded by the Thai government and support their funders in their opposition of the Red Movement.
General Prem Tinsulanonda
"General Prem Tinsulanonda now serves as the Head of the Privy Council of the King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej."
"Prem found himself named as a leading player in the Thailand political crisis of 2005-2006. Before and during the mass protest of Thaksin's supporters, the UDD, Thaksin started mentioning the name of Prem publicly. The UDD leaders harshly blasted Prem for meddling in politics, calling him by using a term of 'ammatya' or 'aristocrat', as a threat to democracy since he has never been democratically elected."
General Prem Tinsulanonda was Chief Advisor to the CP Group., the largest business conglomerate in Thailand who have a business relationship with the Bush family, until he left after investigations started into financial irregularities. The Carlyle Group announced an acquisition of interests in CP Group for US$175 Million, and General Prem remains embroiled in accusations of financial irregularities as businesses including the Carlyle Group's CP Group continued to make donations to his foundations.
The current Prime Minister of Thailand, Abhisit Vejjajiva, was named 'one of 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 1992. In 1998 he became Knight Grand Cordon of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand and in 1999, Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant. He became unelected Prime Minister of Thailand in 2008.
Above are a just a few influential Thai people with links to the same organisations as Thaksin, and more. Tony Cartalucci accuses these organisations of being foreign bodies interfering in Thailand's domestic politics via Thaksin and the Red Movement.
Again the questions arise; Who is more influenced by these foreign interests? Why does Tony only highlight Thaksin's links and not the links of the enormously powerful and influential opponents of Thaksin?
Omission of the IMF
Tony Cartalucci has stated that "Thailand's answer to the IMF, and globalization in general was profound in both implications as well as in its understanding of globalization's end game." He credits anti-IMF policies to Thaksin's opposition and fails to mention that;
"Thailand was a severely compromised democracy by the time Thaksin won the 2001 election on an anti-IMF platform. In his first year in office, he inaugurated three heavy spending programmes that directly contradicted the IMF edicts: a moratorium on farmers' existing debt, along with facilitating new credit for them; medical treatment for all at only 30 baht (less than a dollar) per illness; and a one million baht fund for every district to invest as it saw fit.
These policies did not bring on the inflationary crisis that the IMF and conservative local economists expected. Instead they buoyed the economy and cemented Thaksin's massive support among the rural and urban poor.This was the 'good' side of Thaksin."
Thailand now has IMF debt increasing under Abhisit. Paying off this debt will inevitably result in less public spending and higher taxes. New taxes are also being introduced such as the Land Tax which is currently going through parliament.
The IMF has recently praised Thailand under Thaksin's opposition for giving public money to private companies.
Asia Times noted before the 2006 coup that "Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was elected in 2001 on a strongly populist economic platform now widely referred to as Thaksinomics. Since that time, Thaksin's populist policies have succeeded in producing rapid economic growth. The only factor that could derail Thailand's economy is the remote risk of social instability."
The question has to asked; Were the IMF instrumental in creating this social instability that came about with the advent of the Yellow Shirts who preceded the Red Movement?
It's interesting to note the events that led up to the final massacre at Ratchaprasong. RSO Randall Bennet from the US Embassy at an on-line meeting wrote,
"If anything, the Army has been extremely patient and while being attacked by Red-Shirts with lethal weapons, has responded with rubber bullets to minimize casualties. The Army has not been the aggressor in this case."
On the Sunday morning US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt M. Campbell met Thai government officials and Red Movement leaders. He said that he strongly supported the government and urged the Reds to follow the government's recommendations.
By the afternoon the Thai government stated that it had a secretive new plan to disperse the Reds.
On the Monday morning Thai and US governments were
by a report published in Thai newspapers.
On the Thursday evening The New York Times interviewed Seh Deang where he was shot by a sniper after which a barrage of bullets entered the protest site killing and wounding many unarmed protesters and culminating in the end of the two month protest calling for fresh elections to replace an unelected government.
It's also interesting to note the presence of Americans, such as Michael Yon, at the protest telling the protesters to give up and go home.
"After some shooting started, this guy with weapons T-shirt and a firework stopped me and asked me to email him his photo. Interesting that part of his email address was "M203," which is a 40mm grenade launcher similar to M79. I emailed him a photo and asked him to go home."
Who is Tony Cartalucci?
Tony Cartalucci doesn't reveal much about himself beyond being a Bangkok based writer. Further information on him can only be deduced from his writing or gleaned from the comments sections of his articles.
According to various comments, if they are to be believed, he has been a US Marine and conscientious objector;
"while I was in the Marine Corps - I never killed children, nor anyone not armed. Eventually, when I woke up, I refused orders and spent a month in solitary confinement in defense of my convictions. I am not proud of what I did as a Marine and I have dedicated my life to make reconciliation for what I've done."
By looking at his writings and the reader's comments we can deduce that he is an American living in Thailand, supporting the Thai Nationalists.
Thai Nationalists have completely dismissed Wikileaks as a whole. This may be due to the fact that leaks purported to reveal that some nationalists planned on killing dozens of their own followers in order to gain sympathetic support and demonise the Red Movement. Other leaks placed the spotlight on the nationalist leadership committing Lese Majeste.
The Thai Patriots Network have ex-communists within their ranks and have called for an uprising against elected governments as a whole along with an invasion of Cambodia to seize Angkor Wat.
"Elected politicians create more economic and social problems, and more threats to people’s freedom, … ‘We must stand up and be united. On the day that we mobilize our people, we have to come out in full force. Soldiers, police, and government officials should stand up for the good of the country. When the day comes, everyone must come out to make changes ourselves. We have to cooperate and help ourselves first, and angels and gods will help us.'
The current government is now paying communist rebels 500 million THB, fulfilling a promise given by General Prem Tinsulanonda.
Despite communists morphing into nationalists, government supporters morphing into government opposers and all of the constant change in Thai loyalties they still seem to remain loyal to American money. Tony Cartalucci states that;
Abhisit's "government … has been steadily distancing itself from free-trade with the US, ignoring US calls to enforce "intellectual property," and pursuing a more protectionist policy in regards to the West and its unraveling economy."
The hyperlink he provides is four years old and Thailand has always been lax on intellectual property rights regardless of whether leaders were elected, unelected, military juntas or even Thaksin himself. I wonder if Tony noticed that the article he linked to told of how Thaksin's unelected predecessors were working directly with the Clinton Foundation. Perhaps not. Be assured though, if Thaksin was in anyway involved with the foundation, it would have been labelled an untrustworthy New World Order foundation.
Regardless of whether or not the Clinton Foundation is good or evil, the fact remains that Tony's point is contrary to this more recent article highlighting closer free-trade links with the US;
"The recent road show to the US held by Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) showed the country received confirmation from giant American investors of their investment expansion projects, according to Minister of Industry Chaiwuti Bannawat who led the road show."
Thai Nationalists naturally claim to love their royal family and illustrate their love by accusing people of Lese Majeste, and even sedition. Article 112 of the Thai Constitution protects royalty from criticism and insult. The Lese Majeste law could see those whose body language is deemed to be insulting to Thai Royalty imprisoned for decades. Cases of Lese Majeste have increased by 13,000% since the 2006 coup, and internet censorship and monitoring has also increased enormously most probably due to the movement against Article 112, which is currently growing exponentially.
Just a Lousy Journalist?
This article has only skimmed the surface of the situation in Thailand. It could continue indefinitely, but this writer presumes that enough evidence has been presented to readers. It concludes that Tony Cartalucci's writing on Thailand can not be trusted as objective descriptions of western interference in Thailand. They are, in fact, polemics against Thaksin and the Red Movement within which he presents carefully selected facts to suit a partisan argument against a section of the Thai people who have genuine grievances against their establishment. Those readers who believe in a New World Order hell bent on global corporate rule and depopulation may wish to continue research into such things as live Polio vaccines being administered by the current regime in a country that hasn't had a case of Polio for over 50 years. Or, perhaps the lax approach the regime has towards drinking water, including bottled water, being unfit for consumption due to the high levels of fluoride and other pollutants.
And remember what Roosevelt alluded to, human history has always seen the rich and powerful taking advantage of the poor and the weak and they killed whole swaths of people before the word eugenics was ever dreamt up.
In regards to Tony Cartalucci, who seems only to parrot what Thai members of the ICG, CFR and other globalist organisations say, it is suggested that if he is so concerned with foreign interference in Thailand, maybe he should consider stopping his own interference and stop his association fallacies.
December 28, 2003
THE Secret Intelligence Service has run an operation to gain public support for sanctions and the use of military force in Iraq. The government yesterday confirmed that MI6 had organised Operation Mass Appeal, a campaign to plant stories in the media about Saddam Husseins weapons of mass destruction.
The revelation will create embarrassing questions for Tony Blair in the run-up to the publication of the report by Lord Hutton into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly, the government weapons expert.
A senior official admitted that MI6 had been at the heart of a campaign launched in the late 1990s to spread information about Saddams development of nerve agents and other weapons, but denied that it had planted misinformation. There were things about Saddams regime and his weapons that the public needed to know, said the official.
The admission followed claims by Scott Ritter, who led 14 inspection missions in Iraq, that MI6 had recruited him in 1997 to help with the propaganda effort. He described meetings where the senior officer and at least two other MI6 staff had discussed ways to manipulate intelligence material.
The aim was to convince the public that Iraq was a far greater threat than it actually was, Ritter said last week.
He said there was evidence that MI6 continued to use similar propaganda tactics up to the invasion of Iraq earlier this year. Stories ran in the media about secret underground facilities in Iraq and ongoing programmes (to produce weapons of mass destruction), said Ritter. They were sourced to western intelligence and all of them were garbage.
Kelly, himself a former United Nations weapons inspector and colleague of Ritter, might also have been used by MI6 to pass information to the media. Kelly was a known and government-approved conduit with the media, said Ritter.
Huttons report is expected to deliver a verdict next month on whether intelligence was misused in order to promote the case for going to war. Hutton heard evidence that Kelly was authorised by the Foreign Office to speak to journalists on Iraq. Kelly was in close touch with the Rockingham cell, a group of weapons experts that received MI6 intelligence.
Blair justified his backing for sanctions and for the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that intelligence reports showed Saddam was working to acquire chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. The use of MI6 as a back channel for promoting the governments policies on Iraq was never discovered during the Hutton inquiry and is likely to cause considerable disquiet among MPs.
A key figure in Operation Mass Appeal was Sir Derek Plumbly, then director of the Middle East department at the Foreign Office and now Britains ambassador to Egypt. Plumbly worked closely with MI6 to help to promote Britains Middle East policy.
The campaign was judged to be having a successful effect on public opinion. MI6 passed on intelligence that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction and rebuilding its arsenal.
Poland, India and South Africa were initially chosen as targets for the campaign because they were non-aligned UN countries not supporting the British and US position on sanctions. At the time, in 1997, Poland was also a member of the UN security council.
Ritter was a willing accomplice to the alleged propaganda effort when first approached by MI6s station chief in New York. He obtained approval to co-operate from Richard Butler, then executive chairman of the UN Special Commission on Iraq Disarmament.
Ritter met MI6 to discuss Operation Mass Appeal at a lunch in London in June 1998 at which two men and a woman from MI6 were present. The Sunday Times is prevented by the Official Secrets Act from publishing their names.
Ritter had previously met the MI6 officer at Vauxhall Cross, the services London headquarters. He asked Ritter for information on Iraq that could be planted in newspapers in India, Poland and South Africa from where it would feed back to Britain and America.
Ritter opposed the Iraq war but this is the first time that he has named members of British intelligence as being involved in a propaganda campaign. He said he had decided to name names because he was frustrated at an official cover-up and the misuse of intelligence.
What MI6 was determined to do by the selective use of intelligence was to give the impression that Saddam still had WMDs or was making them and thereby legitimise sanctions and military action against Iraq, he said.
Recent reports suggest America has all but abandoned hopes of finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group, has resigned earlier than expected, frustrated that his resources have been diverted to tracking down insurgents.
The following should be viewed more as a preview than a review - or even more accurately as a sales-pitch, because it is essential reading if one is to gain a clearer understanding of Americas rôle on the global scene. Elections are an essential (even an inherent) element of democracy - provided the former are conducted in a fair and open manner. It would now seem that this indisputable fact has for years been ignored by that Epitome of Democracy, America, and hidden behind a veil of secrecy nurtured by a media under corporate control - until the publication in 1992 of the book Votescam: The Stealing of America, which was immediately banned by the major book chains, who listed the book as out of print and actively worked to prevent its sale. The veil of secrecy prevailed. The co-authors of this book were (they died in the nineties), James (Jim) and Kenneth (Ken) Collier, two entrepreneural brothers who, from 1970 onwards carried out a comprehensive examination of the American voting system, resulting in their book, which exposed, in detail, corporate Americas manipulation of the voting system over a number of decades. In the immediate aftermath of George W. Bushs election victory of 2000, the American journalist, Greg Palast (of the Observer) exposed - clearly - how the crucial State of Florida had rigged the vote. The publics reaction to this - in non-American countries - was one of shock, tinged with a certain disbelief, understandably. In America, the veil of secrecy prevailed, at least initially - thus confirming the effectiveness of the control of the media noted above (and as will be noted in slightly more detail below). It is patently obvious that (a) such control could only have been of a corporate nature- it could only have come from on high; and (b) an American journalist, such as Palast, could only have been able to blow the whistle from afar. That he did so is proof of his courage - and one can only assume that the fact that in his book The Best That Democracy Can Buy he makes no mention of the previous decades of the Colliers investigation into the subject confirms the efficiency of that veil of secrecy. But the fact remains: votescamming had been practised for decades in that country.
(NB: All following text within double-quotes is taken from the book, Votescam)
In August 1964 News Election Service (NES), a consortium of the three major television networks: ABC, NBC and CBS, plus the Associated Press wire service, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other news-gathering organizations - was created to compile computer-voting results and feed them to the major media. (It is of crucial importance to note here that this was in the immediate aftermath of the JFK assassination.)
As unearthed by the Collier bros. from the Library of Congress: in 1980, a study was commissioned by the CIA-linked Air Command and Staff College in cooperation with the University of New Mexico to examine the US electoral system. This was subsequently distributed to selected government agencies. Following are some of its findings: "The United States government has no elections office and does not attempt to administer congressional elections. The responsibility for the administration of elections and certification of winners in the United States national election rests with a consortium of private entities, including 111,000 members of the national League of Women Voters. The formal structure of election administration in the United States is not capable of providing the major TV networks with timely results of the presidential and congressional elections. In the case of counting actual ballots on national election night, public officials have abdicated responsibility of aggregation of election night vote totals to a private organization, News Election Service of New York (NES)... This private organization performs without a contract: without supervision by public officials. It makes decisions concerning its duties according to its own criteria. (underlining by this reviewer) The question and accountability of News Election Service has not arisen in the nation's press because the responsibility NES now has in counting the nation's votes was assumed gradually over a lengthy period without ever being evaluated as an item on the public agenda. This privately owned vote counting cartel (NES) uses the vast membership of the network-subsidized League of Women Voters as field personnel whose exclusive job is to phone in unofficial vote totals to NES on election night. ( It is worthy of note that the NEC is now known as the Voter News Service [VNS]).
It would seem that these findings would account for the subsequent unexpected victory of George Bush snr. (ex-CIA Director) over his fellow-Republican candidate, Sen. Robert Dole, in the New Hampshire primary in 1988 - to say nothing of his subsequent victory over the Democrat, Dukakis, for the presidency. To refer back to the New Hampshire primary for a closer look at how the voting system was manipulated: The Govermor of New Hampshire at the time was John Sununu, a computer engineer: Nothing was said in the press about the secretly programmed computer chips inside the Shouptronic Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines in Manchester, the state's largest city... 1. The Shouptronic was purchased directly from a company whose owner, Ransom Shoup, had been twice convicted of vote fraud in Philadelphia. 2. It bristled with telephone lines that made it possible for instructions from the outside to be telephoned into the machine without anyone's clear knowledge. 3. It completely lacked an audit trail, an independent record that could be checked in case the machine broke down or its results were challenged. 4. Roy G. Saltman, of the federal Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology, called the Shouptronic much more risky than any other computerized tabulation system because You are fundamentally required to accept the logical operation of the machine, there is no way to do an independent check. A source close to Gov. Sununu insists that Sununu knew from his perspective as a politician, and his expertise as a computer engineer, that the Shouptronic was prime for tampering. The concept is clear, simple and it works. Computerized voting gives the power of selection, without fear of discovery, to whomever controls the computer. On becoming president, Bush appointed Sununu Chief of Staff in his administration.
It is self-evident that, some 12 years later, Bush seniors sons, George W., and Jeb, got the message (see Palast above).
It became possible, with fast counters developed by International Business Machine Corporation, to use punch cards, with rows of small, rectangular holes, as ballots. These old cards could be counted at the rate of thousands per minute by an IBM sorting machine hooked up with a photoelectric cell and a computerized tabulator.... after several years, IBM realized that the Vote-amatic voting machine... was actually a Pandora's box.... IBM eventually sold its rights in the company after IBM's president, Thomas Watson, read an article that implied he might be trying to install IBM voting machines in enough precincts to win him the first electronically rigged election for President of the United States.... During a little-publicized court trial in West Virginia, it was revealed that there were ways to stop the computers during a count, while everyone watched. Simply fiddle with a few switches, turn the computer back on again, and thereby alter the entire vote, or parts of it. If anyone asked questions, the fixers could make any number of plausible excuses. Mostly all they had to say was just checking that everything's running okay, and that was satisfactory. With voting machines attached to telephone lines it was possible to meddle with the actual vote from a telephone miles away. Getting caught was not possible. Deniability and untrackability were built into the secret source codes that animated the machines..... Most Americans did not realize that such an anti-democratic virus had infected their vote. Most do not realize it today.
In 1970, the younger of the 2 brothers, Ken, decided to run for Congress, as a Democrat, against the sitting Republican Claude Pepper, (who, incidentally, sat on the board of the bank which had foreclosed on the lease held by the brothers company, Thee Image). Their fascinating, detailed account of the election campaign - with all its conspiratorial machinations - has to be read to be appreciated. Suffice it to say that they lost - but, by god, they learnt a lot! Examples of this (not comprehensive by any means) follow: We drove up to the state capitol at Tallahassee... From the Secretary of State's office we got the final vote totals for every candidate in the three elections held in Dade County in 1970. We copied them and brought them back home. The first thing we did was to lay out the Tallahassee sheets on the pool table and divide them into piles. September primary, October runoff and November final election. Then we arranged the television readouts in time sequence in order to compare the numbers that the state eventually registered as official against the projections from the television stations. We checked the totals in the Governor's race and found that an aggregate of 141,000 votes were cast on September 8th. Then we checked the runoff election held a month later and the exact same figure 141,000 votes were cast again! How is that possible? Ken asked, and then he answered himself, It isn't. The losing candidates dropped out of the race, and whenever that happens the vote drops, too. So we checked the final election in November and found once again that 141,000 votes were cast in the Governor's race. In hockey they call that a hat trick. In politics we call it a fix. Ken was already looking for the figures on the Senate race. It was a five-person contest in the primary and 122,000 votes were cast in total, he said. Look at this! There's 122,000 votes cast in the runoff, and... he flipped the sheets to the finals. Well, what do you know... 122,000. Jim picked up the cue stick and smashed the white ball into the rack. He was angry and yet he marvelled at the sheer audacity of the scheme He pointed the cue at Ken. Do you think the Secretary of State is involved? Hell, what about the press? Ken threw back. If the press knew these numbers and never questioned them, then they're either stupid or collaborators.
Enough said: from now on, let the book speak for itself......
According to election industry officials, electronic voting systems are absolutely secure, because they are protected by passwords and tamperproof audit logs. But the passwords can easily be bypassed, and in fact the audit logs can be altered. Worse, the votes can be changed without anyone knowing, even the County Election Supervisor who runs the election system.
The computer programs that tell electronic voting machines how to record and tally votes are allowed to be held as "trade secrets." Can citizen's groups examine them? No. The companies that make these machines insist that their mechanisms are a proprietary secret. Can citizen's groups, or even election officials, audit their accuracy? Not at all, with touch screens, and rarely, with optical scans, because most state laws mandate that optical scan paper ballots be run through the machine and then sealed into a box, never to be counted unless there is a court order. Even in recounts, the ballots are just run through the machine again. Nowadays, all we look at is the machine tally.
Therefore, when I found that Diebold Election Systems had been storing 40,000 of its files on an open web site, an obscure site, never revealed to public interest groups, but generally known among election industry insiders, and available to any hacker with a laptop, I looked at the files. Having a so-called security-conscious voting machine manufacturer store sensitive files on an unprotected public web site, allowing anonymous access, was bad enough, but when I saw what was in the files my hair turned gray. Really. It did.
The contents of these files amounted to a virtual handbook for vote-tampering: They contained diagrams of remote communications setups, passwords, encryption keys, source code, user manuals, testing protocols, and simulators, as well as files loaded with votes and voting machine software.
Diebold Elections Systems AccuVote systems use software called "GEMS," and this system is used in 37 states. The voting system works like this:
Voters vote at the precinct, running their ballot through an optical scan, or entering their vote on a touch screen.
After the polls close, poll workers transmit the votes that have been accumulated to the county office. They do this by modem.
At the county office, there is a "host computer" with a program on it called GEMS. GEMS receives the incoming votes and stores them in a vote ledger. But in the files we examined, which were created by Diebold employees and/or county officials, we learned that the Diebold program used another set of books with a copy of what is in vote ledger 1. And at the same time, it made yet a third vote ledger with another copy.
Apparently, the Elections Supervisor never sees these three sets of books. All she sees is the reports she can run: Election summary (totals, county wide) or a detail report (totals for each precinct). She has no way of knowing that her GEMS program is using multiple sets of books, because the GEMS interface draws its data from an Access database, which is hidden. And here is what is quite odd: On the programs we tested, the Election summary (totals, county wide) come from the vote ledger 2 instead of vote ledger 1, and ledger 2 can be altered so it may or may not match ledger 1.
Now, think of it like this: You want the report to add up only the actual votes. But, unbeknownst to the election supervisor, votes can be added and subtracted from vote ledger 2. Official reports come from vote ledger 2, which has been disengaged from vote ledger 1. If one asks for a detailed report for some precincts, though, the report comes from vote ledger 1. Therefore, if you keep the correct votes in vote ledger 1, a spot check of detailed precincts (even if you compare voter- verified paper ballots) will always be correct.
And what is vote ledger 3 for? For now, we are calling it the "Lord Only Knows" vote ledger.
There's a logic to these things. Muammar Gadafy, growing older, and his isolated Libya, growing poorer, were getting nothing worthwhile from the atomic bomb they hadn't built yet or chemicals they had scant residual use for. Logic - and common sense - meant changing tack. Good for logic. But logic doesn't stop there.
What next? If weapons of mass destruction are a menace in unstable regions such as the Middle East, if their availability must be reduced, then logic begins to move us closer to the confrontation we never seek with the nuclear power we - let alone Messrs Bush and Blair - seldom mention: Israel.
Nobody, including the Knesset, quite knows what happens inside the Dimona complex, but if you put together a compote of usually reliable sources (the Federation of American Scientists, Jane's Intelligence Review, the Stockholm Institute), a tolerably clear picture emerges. Ariel Sharon probably has more than 200 nuclear warheads this morning - more if the 17 years since Mordechai Vanunu's kidnapping have been devoted to building stockpiles.
That makes Israel the world's fifth largest nuclear power, boasting more bangs from Washington's bucks than Blair's Britain. And over in the other WMD basket, nobody much dissents when a report by the office of technology assessment for the US Congress concludes that Israel has "undeclared offensive chemical warfare capabilities" and is "generally reported as having an undeclared offensive biological warfare programme". Bombs, missiles, delivery systems, gases, germs? Tel Aviv has the lot. We only forget to remember because it's not a suitable subject for polite diplomatic conversation.
Logic, in the old days, didn't trouble too much about that. It saw a state of Israel surrounded by many potential foes who denied its right to exist. It saw such enemies initiate research of their own. It saw too many wars, bitterly fought. It watched the Soviet Union, with warheads to spare, cruising continually in these troubled waters. It was prepared to turn a blind eye and to button its lip.
Come back today for a reality check, though. Saddam's Iraq is a wrecked rat trap. The weapons of mass destruction Gadafy sought are no more, no threat. Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt? Nothing to say, nothing to show. You can, if you wish, be concerned about Syria's chemical weapons facilities - and you can reasonably worry about a nuclear Iran, even though Tehran took a decisive step back towards international acceptability last week. But Moscow is out of the action, and the whole dynamic of Middle East danger has changed. Logic comes knocking at Sharon's door.
He faces problems, of course: problems of intractable politics and Palestinian suicide bombers. But he can't nuke Gaza or gas Bethlehem. His WMD are useless in any battle for hearts and minds - as practically useless as Gadafy has just deemed them to be. So why keep Dimona and the biological research centre at Nes Ziona out of any equation? Why pretend that they don't exist?
The formal logic of defence is threat, counter-threat. Sit in Tehran and look east - at China, India and Pakistan, with their bombs; look west, and there sits Israel. It is natural, in logic, that Iran consider its own deterrent. It will require a deal of understanding engagement - and guarantees - to close off that path. But such guarantees are possible in the age of the world's only superpower. There is every reason to talk frankly about Israel's bomb, just as the Syrians could be closely involved in dismantling chemical stockpiles if only we could find the right language to start.
What, after all, is the current western fear? Of terrorism, rogue states, of more 9/11s. That's why Geoff Hoon's latest defence review moves out of heavy tanks and battleships. It adjusts to what it calls the new realities of flexibility and intelligence. Even Gadafy seems to have noticed. Why not mention them to Sharon?
An Israel bristling with nuclear hardware it cannot talk about and chemical horrors it could negotiate away does not make itself, or the world, any safer. On the contrary, it makes a hypocritical farce of too much Washington bargaining, buries too many initiatives deep down Hypocrisy Gulch and gives rogue groupings in ex-rogue states every reason to carry on developing, stealing or buying the devices that keep Mr Blair awake at night.
Does Tel Aviv see that connection? Does it want to bring a whole region in from the cold? Such things are becoming possible. But first we need the honesty to follow where logic leads; and begin to talk about them.
By Brian Ross and Vic Walter
Dec. 19 Two veteran FBI investigators say they were ordered to stop investigations into a suspected terror cell linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network and the Sept. 11 attacks.
In a dramatic interview with ABCNEWS, FBI special agents and partners Robert Wright and John Vincent say they were called off criminal investigations of suspected terrorists tied to the deadly bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. U.S. officials say al Qaeda was responsible for the embassy attacks and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
"September the 11th is a direct result of the incompetence of the FBI's International Terrorism Unit. No doubt about that. Absolutely no doubt about that," Wright said. "You can't know the things I know and not go public."
In the mid-1990s, with growing terrorism in the Middle East, the two Chicago-based agents were assigned to track a connection to Chicago, a suspected terrorist cell that would later lead them to a link with Osama bin Laden. Wright says that when he pressed for authorization to open a criminal investigation into the money trail, his supervisor stopped him.
"Do you know what his response was? 'I think it's just better to let sleeping dogs lie,'" said Wright. "Those dogs weren't sleeping. They were training. They were getting ready."
The FBI says its handling of the matter was appropriate at the time.
"Truthfully, if 9/11 had not occurred, we wouldn't be here [giving the interview]," said Vincent, a 27-year veteran at the bureau until he retired a few days after being interviewed by ABCNEWS. "Because of 9/11, we're here because we see the danger."
The suspected terrorist cell in Chicago was the basis of the investigation, yet Wright, who remains with the FBI, says he soon discovered that all the FBI intelligence division wanted him to do was to follow suspected terrorists and file reports but make no arrests.
"The supervisor who was there from headquarters was right straight across from me and started yelling at me: 'You will not open criminal investigations. I forbid any of you. You will not open criminal investigations against any of these intelligence subjects,'" Wright said.
Even though they were on a terrorism task force and said they had proof of criminal activity, Wright said he was told not to pursue the matter.
In 1998 al Qaeda terrorists bombed two American embassies in Africa. The agents say some of the money for the attacks led back to the people they had been tracking in Chicago and to a powerful Saudi Arabian businessman, Yassin al-Kadi. Al-Kadi is one of 12 Saudi businessmen suspected of funneling millions of dollars to al Qaeda and who had extensive business and financial ties in Chicago.
Yet, even after the bombings, Wright said FBI headquarters wanted no arrests.
"Two months after the embassies are hit in Africa, they wanted to shut down the criminal investigation," said Wright. "They wanted to kill it."
The move outraged Chicago federal prosecutor Mark Flessner, who was assigned to the case despite efforts Wright and Vincent say were made by superiors to block the probe. Flessner said Wright and Vincent were helping him build a strong criminal case against al-Kadi and others.
"There were powers bigger than I was in the Justice Department and within the FBI that simply were not going to let it [the building of a criminal case] happen. And it didn't happen, " Flessner said.
He said he still couldn't figure out why Washington stopped the case whether it was Saudi influence or bureaucratic ineptitude.
"I think there were very serious mistakes made," said Flessner. "And I think, it perhaps cost, it cost people their lives ultimately."
Perhaps most astounding of the many mistakes, according to Flessner and an affidavit filed by Wright, is how an FBI agent named Gamal Abdel-Hafiz seriously damaged the investigation. Wright says Abdel-Hafiz, who is Muslim, refused to secretly record one of al-Kadi's suspected associates, who was also Muslim. Wright says Abdel-Hafiz told him, Vincent and other agents that "a Muslim doesn't record another Muslim."
"He wouldn't have any problems interviewing or recording somebody who wasn't a Muslim, but he could never record another Muslim," said Vincent.
Wright said he "was floored" by Abdel-Hafiz's refusal and immediately called the FBI headquarters. Their reaction surprised him even more: "The supervisor from headquarters says, 'Well, you have to understand where he's coming from, Bob.' I said no, no, no, no, no. I understand where I'm coming from," said Wright. "We both took the same damn oath to defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic, and he just said no? No way in hell."
Far from being reprimanded, Abdel-Hafiz was promoted to one of the FBI's most important anti-terrorism posts, the American Embassy in Saudi Arabia, to handle investigations for the FBI in that Muslim country.
The FBI said it was unaware of the allegations against the Muslim agent when he was sent to Saudi Arabia or of two similar incidents described to ABCNEWS by agents in New York and Tampa, Fla. They said Abdel-Hafiz contributed significantly to many successful terror investigations.
In a statement to ABCNEWS, the FBI also defended the agent, saying he had a right to refuse because the undercover recording was supposed to take place in a mosque.
But former prosecutor Flessner said that was a lie and the mosque was never part of the plan.
"What he [Abdel-Hafiz] said was, it was against his religion to record another Muslim. I was dumbfounded by that response," said Flessner. "And I had perfectly appropriate conversations with the supervisors of his home office and nothing came of it."
On Sept. 11, 2001, the two agents watched the terror attacks in horror, worried that men they could have stopped years earlier may have been involved.
The White House confirmed their fears. One month after the attacks, the U.S. government officially identified al-Kadi the same man the FBI had ordered Wright and Vincent to leave alone years earlier as one of bin Laden's important financiers.
Al-Kadi told ABCNEWS he can prove his total innocence, repeatedly denying, from his office in Riyadh, any connection to bin Laden or al Qaeda. "Not even one cent went to Osama bin Laden," he said.
But on Dec. 6, U.S. Customs agents, as part of their own investigation, conducted a midnight search of a Boston-area company believed to be secretly owned and controlled by al-Kadi.
The company provides computer software to the FBI and other key federal agencies, which means al-Kadi and his employees could have had access to some of the government's most sensitive secrets.
Al-Kadi is on the U.S. government's "dirty dozen" list of leading terror financiers being investigated by the CIA. The federal government says it is pursuing possible criminal charges.
"I was relieved that Customs was picking it up where we failed big time," said Wright. "There's so much more. God, there's so much more. A lot more."
Ian Traynor Wednesday December 10, 2003 The Guardian
Private corporations have penetrated western warfare so deeply that they are now the second biggest contributor to coalition forces in Iraq after the Pentagon, a Guardian investigation has established.
While the official coalition figures list the British as the second largest contingent with around 9,900 troops, they are narrowly outnumbered by the 10,000 private military contractors now on the ground.
The investigation has also discovered that the proportion of contracted security personnel in the firing line is 10 times greater than during the first Gulf war. In 1991, for every private contractor, there were about 100 servicemen and women; now there are 10.
The private sector is so firmly embedded in combat, occupation and peacekeeping duties that the phenomenon may have reached the point of no return: the US military would struggle to wage war without it.
While reliable figures are difficult to come by and governmental accounting and monitoring of the contracts are notoriously shoddy, the US army estimates that of the $87bn (£50.2bn) earmarked this year for the broader Iraqi campaign, including central Asia and Afghanistan, one third of that, nearly $30bn, will be spent on contracts to private companies.
The myriad military and security companies thriving on this largesse are at the sharp end of a revolution in military affairs that is taking us into unknown territory - the partial privatisation of war.
"This is a trend that is growing and Iraq is the high point of the trend," said Peter Singer, a security analyst at Washington's Brookings Institution. "This is a sea change in the way we prosecute warfare. There are historical parallels, but we haven't seen them for 250 years."
When America launched its invasion in March, the battleships in the Gulf were manned by US navy personnel. But alongside them sat civilians from four companies operating some of the world's most sophisticated weapons systems.
When the unmanned Predator drones, the Global Hawks, and the B-2 stealth bombers went into action, their weapons systems, too, were operated and maintained by non-military personnel working for private companies.
The private sector is even more deeply involved in the war's aftermath. A US company has the lucrative contracts to train the new Iraqi army, another to recruit and train an Iraqi police force.
But this is a field in which British companies dominate, with nearly half of the dozen or so private firms in Iraq coming from the UK.
The big British player in Iraq is Global Risk International, based in Hampton, Middlesex. It is supplying hired Gurkhas, Fijian paramilitaries and, it is believed, ex-SAS veterans, to guard the Baghdad headquarters of Paul Bremer, the US overlord, according to analysts.
It is a trend that has been growing worldwide since the end of the cold war, a booming business which entails replacing soldiers wherever possible with highly paid civilians and hired guns not subject to standard military disciplinary procedures.
The biggest US military base built since Vietnam, Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, was constructed and continues to be serviced by private contractors. At Tuzla in northern Bosnia, headquarters for US peacekeepers, everything that can be farmed out to private businesses has been. The bill so far runs to more than $5bn. The contracts include those to the US company ITT, which supplies the armed guards, overwhelmingly US private citizens, at US installations.
In Israel, a US company supplies the security for American diplomats, a very risky business. In Colombia, a US company flies the planes destroying the coca plantations and the helicopter gunships protecting them, in what some would characterise as a small undeclared war.
In Kabul, a US company provides the bodyguards to try to save President Hamid Karzai from assassination, raising questions over whether they are combatants in a deepening conflict with emboldened Taliban insurgents.
And in the small town of Hadzici west of Sarajevo, a military compound houses the latest computer technology, the war games simulations challenging the Bosnian army's brightest young officers.
Crucial to transforming what was an improvised militia desperately fighting for survival into a modern army fit eventually to join Nato, the army computer centre was established by US officers who structured, trained, and armed the Bosnian military. The Americans accomplished a similar mission in Croatia and are carrying out the same job in Macedonia.
The input from the US military has been so important that the US experts can credibly claim to have tipped the military balance in a region ravaged by four wars in a decade. But the American officers, including several four-star generals, are retired, not serving. They work, at least directly, not for the US government, but for a private company, Military Professional Resources Inc.
"In the Balkans MPRI are playing an incredibly critical role. The balance of power in the region was altered by a private company. That's one measure of the sea change," said Mr Singer, the author of a recent book on the subject, Corporate Warriors.
The surge in the use of private companies should not be confused with the traditional use of mercenaries in armed conflicts. The use of mercenaries is outlawed by the Geneva conventions, but no one is accusing the Pentagon, while awarding more than 3,000 contracts to private companies over the past decade, of violating the laws of war.
The Pentagon will "pursue additional opportunities to outsource and privatise", the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, pledged last year and military analysts expect him to try to cut a further 200,000 jobs in the armed forces.
It is this kind of "downsizing" that has fed the growth of the military private sector.
Since the end of the cold war it is reckoned that six million servicemen have been thrown on to the employment market with little to peddle but their fighting and military skills. The US military is 60% the size of a decade ago, the Soviet collapse wrecked the colossal Red Army, the East German military melted away, the end of apartheid destroyed the white officer class in South Africa. The British armed forces, notes Mr Singer, are at their smallest since the Napoleonic wars.
The booming private sector has soaked up much of this manpower and expertise.
It also enables the Americans, in particular, to wage wars by proxy and without the kind of congressional and media oversight to which conventional deployments are subject.
From the level of the street or the trenches to the rarefied corridors of strategic analysis and policy-making, however, the problems surfacing are immense and complex.
One senior British officer complains that his driver was recently approached and offered a fortune to move to a "rather dodgy outfit". Ex-SAS veterans in Iraq can charge up to $1,000 a day.
"There's an explosion of these companies attracting our servicemen financially," said Rear Admiral Hugh Edleston, a Royal Navy officer who is just completing three years as chief military adviser to the international administration running Bosnia.
He said that outside agencies were sometimes better placed to provide training and resources. "But you should never mix serving military with security operations. You need to be absolutely clear on the division between the military and the paramilitary."
"If these things weren't privatised, uniformed men would have to do it and that draws down your strength," said another senior retired officer engaged in the private sector. But he warned: "There is a slight risk that things can get out of hand and these companies become small armies themselves."
And in Baghdad or Bogota, Kabul or Tuzla, there are armed company employees effectively licensed to kill. On the job, say guarding a peacekeepers' compound in Tuzla, the civilian employees are subject to the same rules of engagement as foreign troops.
But if an American GI draws and uses his weapon in an off-duty bar brawl, he will be subject to the US judicial military code. If an American guard employed by the US company ITT in Tuzla does the same, he answers to Bosnian law. By definition these companies are frequently operating in "failed states" where national law is notional. The risk is the employees can literally get away with murder.
Or lesser, but appalling crimes. Dyncorp, for example, a Pentagon favourite, has the contract worth tens of millions of dollars to train an Iraqi police force. It also won the contracts to train the Bosnian police and was implicated in a grim sex slavery scandal, with its employees accused of rape and the buying and selling of girls as young as 12. A number of employees were fired, but never prosecuted. The only court cases to result involved the two whistleblowers who exposed the episode and were sacked.
"Dyncorp should never have been awarded the Iraqi police contract," said Madeleine Rees, the chief UN human rights officer in Sarajevo.
Of the two court cases, one US police officer working for Dyncorp in Bosnia, Kathryn Bolkovac, won her suit for wrongful dismissal. The other involving a mechanic, Ben Johnston, was settled out of court. Mr Johnston's suit against Dyncorp charged that he "witnessed co-workers and supervisors literally buying and selling women for their own personal enjoyment, and employees would brag about the various ages and talents of the individual slaves they had purchased".
There are other formidable problems surfacing in what is uncharted territory - issues of loyalty, accountability, ideology, and national interest. By definition, a private military company is in Iraq or Bosnia not to pursue US, UN, or EU policy, but to make money.
The growing clout of the military services corporations raises questions about an insidious, longer-term impact on governments' planning, strategy and decision-taking.
Mr Singer argues that for the first time in the history of the modern nation state, governments are surrendering one of the essential and defining attributes of statehood, the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of force.
But for those on the receiving end, there seems scant alternative.
"I had some problems with some of the American generals," said Enes Becirbasic, a Bosnian military official who managed the Bosnian side of the MPRI projects to build and arm a Bosnian army. "It's a conflict of interest. I represent our national interest, but they're businessmen. I would have preferred direct cooperation with state organisations like Nato or the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. But we had no choice. We had to use MPRI."
As a wave of arrests strikes fear into Britain's Islamic community, Martin Bright reveals how the feuding generations are being driven apart
Sunday December 7, 2003 The Observer
The shots slammed into a row of Asian businesses on Dudley High Street early last Tuesday. The town's Muslim Association was the first to be hit, then a Kashmiri jeweller's and an Asian barber's. The backlash had begun.
At the beginning of last week, Usman Choudhary and Umar Ijaz, two devout young men from the long-established and traditionally peaceful Kashmiri community, were rounded up in a nationwide anti-terrorist sweep that saw 21 people taken into custody. A third Dudley man, who has yet to be identified, was arrested in nearby Walsall, with a man from Luton. The four are suspected of conspiring in a substantial credit-card fraud, and anti-terrorist officers are investigating links to the funding of extremist groups. So far no charges have been brought against them, and their families and friends deny any wrongdoing.
As the news broke of the arrests, the reaction from the local white community was swift. Apart from the shooting incident, cars in the streets where the two men lived were trashed and police set up extra patrols around their homes and mosques.
The arrests were a devastating blow for the older generation of Muslims in Dudley, who have gained a reputation for moderation and taking a stand against terrorism. After the attacks of 11 September 2001, the Dudley Muslim Association was one of the first in the country to condemn the attacks and, on the two anniversaries since, it has organised a memorial event for the victims.
One of the men arrested, 23-year-old Choudhary, is the son of the chairman of the central mosque. This close-knit community has been torn apart. People here are painfully aware that they are just a mile away from Tipton, the home of two young men caught fighting for the Taliban and detained by the US in Guantanamo Bay.
The suggestion that the Black Country is harbouring terrorists has deeply wounded this community. Khurshid Ahmed, head of the Dudley Muslim Association, said years of work to encourage Muslims in the West Midlands into the mainstream had been jeopardised: 'We have been at the forefront of the war against terrorism. We have helped gather intelligence to root out dangerous elements. But because the chair of the mosque committee's son was arrested, that somehow tars the whole community.'
The shock waves of last week's anti-terrorism raids are still resonating. Even Muslim leaders who have worked closely with the police and the Home Office to root out extremism have been surprised by the scale of the arrests. So far, only two have been charged with terrorist offences, including Sajid Badat of Gloucester, who has been charged with conspiring with shoe bomber Richard Reid. Four Algerians arrested in Eastbourne under terrorist legislation have been charged with fraud and in Cambridge two women were released and then rearrested on immigration charges.
The arrests are part of a police strategy of disruption reported by The Observer last year, aimed at dismantling terror networks, even when there was little hard evidence of criminal activity.
But Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, of the Muslim Parliament, said the arrests threatened to alienate Muslims further and people were deeply cynical about the reasons for the arrests. 'People believe this is just a cover-up for failure in Iraq. It is playing on xenophobia to persuade people there is a fifth column in this country and show that something is being done.'
In Dudley, the Muslim elders feel under siege. They perceive a threat from the police, an increasingly hostile media, local thugs and the British National Party, which has fed on fears of Islam to recruit in the area. But perhaps more seriously, there is a growing realisation that the community is also under threat from within - radical puritanical strains of the religion imported from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are a particular concern, as are extremist groups such as al-Muhajiroun (the Emigrants) and Hizb-ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), which recruit at colleges and universities. There are fears that young activists are being drawn away from the more moderate interpretation of Islam fostered by their parents' generation.
Ahmed is also chair of the British Pakistani Association and a commissioner at the Commission for Racial Equality. As well-placed as anyone to identify the problems facing British Muslims, he says they now have to acknowledge that a small but growing number of young Muslims are turning to extreme forms of Islam.
'Radicalisation is extremely serious and something we have to blame ourselves for,' says Ahmed. 'The leadership has not been effective in dealing with young people. We have left them to the mercy of extremist groups who have preyed on them at colleges and universities.'
There is no doubt that a small minority of radical young Muslims have been politicised by the countless conflicts in the Islamic world: Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Kashmir all have the ability to provoke deep passions. Many of Britain's mosques quite legitimately raise large sums of money for charities and aid organisations working in these conflict zones.
But the increase in radicalism has other causes much closer to home. Dudley's 7,000 Muslims are the largest ethnic minority in the area, but they also have the highest levels of unemployment, illiteracy and are over-represented in the local crime figures. Those young Muslims who manage to fight their way out of these desperate conditions to get an education face further frustration - according to Ahmed, young Muslim graduates are eight times less likely to find a job than their white counterparts. Over-educated and underemployed young men: the classic breeding ground for Islamic radicalism. The pattern is replicated across the country.
Disbelief surrounds the arrest of Choudhary and Ijaz. Both were known as highly religious young men, but they mixed well with less devout Muslims and were both thought to be good cricketers. Ghulam Choudhary said he was 'heartbroken' by the arrest of his son and remains convinced of his innocence, He told The Observer: 'His only crime is to be a religious Muslim, if that is a crime. I'm sure he is not involved with any extreme organisation.'
Nabeel Shabir, 19, whose father's jewellery shop was hit in the shootings, said few people believed the men were terrorists: 'They prayed five times a day. You always saw them at the mosque. But we never expected anything like this. We have never seen such scenes in all our lives.'
It is perhaps significant that Choudhary and Ijaz chose not worship at the mainstream, westernised Dudley Central Mosque, but instead at the more orthodox Queens Cross Masjid at the other end of town. This mosque follows the puritan Ahl-i Hadith sect, which grew up in nineteenth-century India to take Islam back to its roots in reaction to British imperialism.
Police have made clear there is no link between the mosque and the crimes being investigated in Dudley. There is no suggestion that the mosque's imams are preaching anything other than peace. But it may be a sign of a growing generation gap that these young men chose a more austere and orthodox sect to their parents. The imam of the mosque, Mohammed Abdullah, moved here two years ago from Saudi Arabia and speaks little English. He is part of a growing number of imams imported from Saudi religious universities to meet the demand in Britain's mosques.
Via a translator, Abdullah told The Observer that terrorism and suicide were outlawed by Islam. 'If one person is killed, the whole of humanity suffers,' he said. But Home Office and Foreign Office ministers have expressed concern that figures such as Abdullah fail to understand the complex pressures facing young British Muslims when preaching their orthodox message.
Chief Superintendent Dennis Hodson of West Midlands Police described the arrests as 'deeply unfortunate' and should not be connected to any of the town's mosques. 'These police inquiries have to continue. But whatever happens, we need to reassure Dudley's Muslims and the wider community. We can understand people being fearful, but the Muslims must not become scapegoats. This applies here, but also to the rest of the country when these kinds of sensitive arrests are made.'
Elsewhere in the town, tension was raised during anti-war demonstrations when a small minority of Muslim youths shouted their support for Saddam Hussein. In the Litten Tree pub in Dudley Town centre, Norman Povey and Andy Johnson said rumours were rife that mosques had been raided in the area. 'I have Muslim mates and we have a laugh and even a drink together. But it's the younger ones who are the problem,' said Povey. 'And when you hear them shouting "Saddam, Saddam", I do think something should be done.'
There are signs of hope. Around the walls of Ahmed's office are full-colour plans for the grandly named Pride of Dudley Project - a vast £5 million hilltop mosque to rival the only other major landmark in this down-at-heel Black Country town: the crumbling ruins of its eleventh-century castle, home to the earls of Dudley.
The project was conceived, in part, as a response to 11 September as a gift to the town, with a 'community and enterprise centre' for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Perhaps controversially for some Muslims, the mosque has been designed with cathedral-like windows as a tribute to the Christian influences on Islam. The mosque will celebrate Christmas as well as Muslim festivals.
'It is meant to be a celebration of our heritage and Christianity and Judaism are part of that heritage. We believe this will be the first mosque in the world to have half-Christian and half-Muslim architecture. We are very proud of that,' said Ahmed.
But when Ahmed took plans of the mosque to be framed, the shop manager said: 'I used to envy and admire your community because your children were so much better behaved. But when we see kids from your community fighting in Afghanistan or in Guantanamo, we wonder how safe we are.'
Ahmed knows it is such doubts that fuel the deep anti-Muslim feeling emerging in Britain. 'It is understandable that people have these fears and it is up to us to reassure them about our young people.'
Muslims accuse 'heavy-handed' police as nearly everyone arrested is freed
Antony Barnett and Martin Bright Sunday December 7, 2003 The Observer
Only five of the 529 people arrested in Britain as terrorist suspects since the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 have been convicted of any terrorist crime.
The vast majority of those detained were British Muslims, and most were released without charge.
The Muslim community claims there is a danger of all its members being criminalised, and says the figures prove the police are being too heavy-handed in enforcing the Terrorism Act.
More than 20 people have been arrested under the Act in the last fortnight, including Sajid Badat, from Gloucester, who was charged with conspiring to cause an explosion.
The Home Office argues that the arrests across the UK have been necessary to prevent a major terrorist attack on this country.
There have been successes. Baghdad Meziane and Brahim Benmerzouga, from Leicester, were each jailed for 11 years last April after being convicted of raising funds for terrorists.
Yet it is far more common for arrests to be accompanied by high-profile press coverage, and for the suspects to be quietly released later, or detained on lesser charges, such as immigration or passport offences.
One example is Karim Kadouri, who was arrested in November 2002 for allegedly plotting to release poison gas in the London Underground. All terrorism charges against him were dropped, and he was jailed for four months last February for having a fake passport.
Two members of a radical Islamic group alleged to have planned to use ricin in a chemical weapons attack on a high-profile London target were never charged with terrorist offences. Instead, the brothers involved in the alleged plot, Samir and Mouloud Feddag, were jailed for possessing false passports.
The most highly-publicised case of false claims levelled against a terrorist suspect were those against Algerian pilot Lotfi Raissi who was alleged by the US security forces to have trained the pilots involved in the 11 September attacks.
He was released without charge after spending five months in Belmarsh high-security prison in south London, although he did not face any charge under British law.
Another man, Sulayman Zainulabidi, was cleared last year of trying to recruit terrorists on a website he ran from his south London home.
Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: 'There is massive publicity given to arrests of so-called Islamic terrorists, giving the impression that there are Islamic cells all round the country.
'The vast majority of these are released without any charges, but the damage is already done. Politicians are too quick to make public pronouncements before they have seen the evidence.'
A spokesman for the Home Office defended the arrest record, arguing that the statistics gave a misleading picture.
'A number of people arrested under the Terrorism Act have been convicted under other related laws such as firearm offences,' he said. 'We believe the Act allows the police to carry out their vital role in targeting suspected terrorist activities and preventing an attack.'
Additional reporting by Tenali Heikka
Source: Minority Rights Group International
The ousting of Eduard Shevardnadze from office in November 2003 has resulted in revelations, many of which are of a highly ironic nature as will be appreciated as the story unfolds.
Keep in mind the following facts: (a) Shevardnadze had "ruled Georgia for 12 years after playing an instrumental role in the final days of the Soviet bloc"  ; (b) Georgia has been a member of NATO's 'Partnership for Peace' (PfP) Pro-gramme since 1994; (c) "The US is providing military assistance to Georgia in the form of training and equipment, which has already cost the US government about USD 70 million. US instructors have already trained three battalions of commando units, a total of 1750 people... US military instructors have finished training 550 Georgian commando units...and, in the words of Shevardnadze 'Georgian forces are now approaching NATO standards.'"  ; (d) Shevardnadze had at all times offered his full support to the US on its foreign policy - including the invasion of Iraq; and (e) above all, he had willingly cooperated with the oil companies in their Caspian projects (with not a little help from his old friend, James Baker III, legal rep.of the Azerbaijan International Oil Co.).
On the face of it, it would seem puzzlingly ironic that America would have allowed Shevardnadze to be removed from office. This, therefore, calls for a closer look at matters/events which, because of their pertinence, may help solve the puzzle.
In late 2000, Shevardnadze invited George Soros - whom he had known since the 80's - to Tbilisi to set up the Open Society Georgia (an offshoot of Soros's Open Society Institute), 'with the stated aim of building democratic institutions and civil society.' On that trip, Soros met Shevardnadze's Justice Minister, Mikhail Saakashvili - who some months later, and now disillusioned with Shevardnadze - quit the government & went into opposition. This initial trip by Soros was to be followed by several other visits, though his relationship with Mr. Shevardnadze had begun to sour, as evinced by Soros's statement to a news conference in Moscow in 2002 on the subject of the coming Georgia election in 2003: "It is necessary to mobilize civil society in order to assure free and fair elections because there are many forces that are determined to falsify or to prevent the elections being free and fair," Mr. Soros said, adding that "This is what we did in Slovakia at the time of [Vladimir] Meciar, in Croatia at the time of [Franjo] Tudjman, and in Yugoslavia at the time of Milosevic." In February 2003, Giga Bokeria, a Georgian activist who had founded the 'Liberty Instititute' in opposition to Shevardnadze, was sent to Serbia to learn how the Serbian resistance movement , OTPOR, had brought about the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic. This resulted in a trip to Georgia the following summer by an OTPOR group "who ran three-day courses teaching more than 1,000 students how to stage a peaceful revolution." This was all funded by Soros's Open Society Institute.  (Soros's dealings throughout the Balkans are in the public domain - well-covered elsewhere)
Mikhail Saakashvili was a name that would subsequently 'hit-the-headlines' come November 2003, when Shevardnadze was deposed. After all, as leader of the United National Movement and chairman of the Tbilisi City Council, he had led the rebellion. Intriguingly, in April 2003, he had been invited to attend a 'discussion' chaired by the Nixon Center in Washington. This was a group founded by Nixon on "January 20, 1994 (the 25th anniversary of his first inauguration and just three months before his death in April of that year) as a forward-looking, activist institution designed not just to study and talk, but also to make a difference in shaping U.S. foreign policy perspectives for the 21st century."..."The Center is funded through a combination of corporate and individual donations in addition to foundation grants."... "In March 1995, the Center was quickly established as a leading participant in the debate over American foreign policy by its highly successful national policy conference 'After Victory: Defining an American Role in an Uncertain World.' The conference addressed fundamental questions about U.S. goals and interests in the post-Cold War era and featured major presentations by President Bill Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Dr. Henry Kissinger, who served as conference chairman.".....To further emphasise the preeminence of this Center, the following is a list of its more famous/infamous board members:
Honorary Chairman: Henry A. Kissinger (Former Secretary of State, et al.)
Chairman: Maurice R. Greenberg (Chairman and CEO of American International Group)
Conrad M. Black (the Hollinger Group)
Brent Scowcroft (ref: Iran-Contra débacle)
Dimitri K. Simes, Center President (Ex Officio) (expert on U.S.-Russian relations and a foreign policy advisor to President Nixon,)
James Schlesinger (former Secretary of Defense)
John Deutch (former Sec. of Defense & CIA Director) 
The above-mentioned Center 'discussion' in Washington on April 14 2003 revealed many interesting pointers pertinent to the subject of this article - as the following excerpts will show:
"Mikheil Saakashvili, one of the leading opposition party leaders, argued that President Eduard Shevardnadze has very little support in the country, and added that 'if Washington does not push for free and fair elections in Georgia , there will be chaos on the street.'"
"Mr. Saakashvili sees the main challenge from the populist Labor Party, which recently won a court case against the American electricity utility company, AES. The party promotes free electricity to Georgians and stood firmly against the Iraq war. Mr. Saakashvili argued that the government indirectly supports the Labor Party."
"'Georgian opposition is closely working with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) for election monitoring. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (now chairman of NDI) is expected to travel to Tbilisi in June for the first preparatory mission, and again in September', he said."
"Saakashvili referred several times to Serbia in explaining developments in Georgia.... There also has been the formation of peaceful student and opposition movements like the ones that succeeded against the Milosevic government. 'Like in Serbia in 1996, the church can play a huge role in reining in violence because it enjoys moral authority,' he argued. Urging immediate reforms, he said that so far he was a 'successful version of Djindjic.'" - the Serbian prime minister who was subsequently assassinated.  (Refer the last paragraph to Soros's activities noted above).
Under the heading 'Georgia's Saakashvili backs oil-pipeline plan', The Seattle Times of November 27 2003 noted: "'All strategic contracts in Georgia, especially the contract for the Caspian pipeline, are a matter of survival for the Georgian state,' said Mikhail Saakashvili, who yesterday was endorsed by the country's interim President Nino Burjanadze in the upcoming presidential election. The decision makes Saakashvili the clear front-runner in the Jan. 4 presidential election."....
"Oil companies BP and Statoil said the ouster of Shevardnadze did not represent any threat to their plans to ferry Azerbaijan's huge oil and gas reserves to Turkey via oil and gas pipelines through Georgia, known as Baku-Ceyhan and Baku-Erzurum."....
"Saakashvili sought to dampen the enormous expectations raised by the former opposition's victory... 'I want to tell every family of Georgia that in three weeks, in two months, extraordinary changes won't happen,' he said."....
Shevardnadze "speculated that forces other than the protesters were involved in his ouster. He noted that the U.S. ambassador to Georgia, Richard Miles, was posted in Yugoslavia before the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic, and suggested the ambassador might have encouraged Georgia's opposition."
The newspaper continued .."Should Saakashvili win, it would make him the most Americanized national leader ever seen in the former Soviet Union outside the Baltic states. Aside from his studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Saakashvili also earned a degree at Columbia Law School. With no money in the budget and $1.8 billion in foreign debt, Saakashvili acknowledged that the interim government cannot pay salaries or pensions until after the elections."
"Washington committed $2.4 million to help conduct Georgia's Nov. 2 election. It was part of a 10-year investment of $1.3 billion aimed at helping Georgia create a civil society. In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the Bush administration was putting together an 'inter-agency mission' to go to Georgia next week to offer help with elections and other areas of cooperation." 
The above recorded event bears a striking resemblance to what happened in Yugoslavia - in more ways than one - but the crucial lesson to be drawn from it is that Corporate America will desert an 'ally' at the drop of a hat - if that 'ally' is no longer of tactical use to it on its Global March Onward!...
 Seattle Times Nov. 27 '03 (implying a causal linkage between Shevardnadze's close relationship w/James Baker & the fall of the USSR)
 Mark Mackinnon 'Globe & Mail' Nov. 26th 2003
 Seattle Times op.cit.
A recent attack on a Knesset member underscores the country's hostility towards calls for transparency in Israel's weapons of mass destruction programme, Jonathan Cook reports
At midday on Friday, 24 October, Issam Makhoul, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament, and his wife Suad got into their two cars outside their home in the centre of Haifa. Issam Makhoul reversed his Knesset-supplied Ford out of the driveway as his wife started the engine of the family Honda to collect their twin children from school.
Seconds later an explosion flooded Suad Makhoul's car with flames. She leapt from the vehicle moments before the fire could engulf her.
Today, Makhoul's house is under a 24-hour guard and he is escorted everywhere in public by an army-trained bodyguard -- of the kind usually accompanying senior government ministers and defence officials.
The Shin Bet security services, who have told Makhoul that the explosion was caused by a small bomb placed under the car, have refused to comment further. There has been almost no coverage in either the Israeli or foreign media, and a Haifa court has issued a gag order on information related to the case.
Makhoul has possibly the lowest profile of the 10 Arab members of the Knesset, most of whom appear readier than Makhoul to make headlines in the Hebrew media by being drawn into verbal, and occasionally physical, combat with right- wing MPs in the chamber.
Makhoul belongs to Jubha, the "quietest" of the Arab factions. The party is contained within the joint Arab and Jewish Communist bloc known as the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, which uniquely puts co-existence between the two main communities at the heart of its political platform.
Other Arab MPs belong to Azmi Bishara's secular nationalist Tajamu Party and the Islamic Movement, whose spiritual leader is Sheikh Raed Salah.
These two have been far more outspoken and as a consequence are the subject of public witch- hunts. Both are now embroiled in criminal trials initiated by Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein, apparently at the behest of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
So what thrust the white-haired, mild- mannered Makhoul into a situation in which he was specially targeted for assassination?
According to Israeli Army Radio, Knesset security officials are working on the assumption that criminal elements within the Arab minority were responsible for the attack. That seems far less probable than that the would-be assassins selected Makhoul because he has been an almost solitary critic of Israel's most sensitive -- if widely known -- secret: that it has stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), including nuclear arms.
For decades Israel has refused to confirm the now well-documented fact that it has a significant arsenal of nuclear warheads -- the only country in the Middle East known to have successfully developed such a programme. Estimates suggest it has as many as 300 warheads, some of which, if the latest reports are to be believed, have been fitted to cruise missiles aboard Dolphin submarines, putting every Arab state within range of an Israeli strike.
With the connivance of the West -- in particular the US, Britain, France, Germany and South Africa -- Israel has been allowed to do all this unchecked at its nuclear weapons factory at Dimona in the Negev, and without signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Today it is believed to have nuclear weapons bases at Haifa, Kfar Zechariah, and Eilaboun and Yodfat in the Galilee.
Israel also has an advanced biological weapons programme based at Nes Tsiona, south of Tel Aviv, where it is reported to have been working on new toxins, including a nerve agent that can attack genes found only in Arabs.
Makhoul gained notoriety in February 2000 for trying to cut through Israel's policy of "nuclear ambiguity" -- its refusal publicly to discuss its possession of warheads -- by raising the issue of the country's atomic programme in the Knesset, the first time such a debate had ever been staged. His speech provoked an outpouring of vitriol from Jewish MPs, who accused him of being a traitor and tried to have him ejected from the chamber.
During the stormy debate, Makhoul appealed for the release of Mordechai Vanunu, the scientist turned whistleblower who in 1986 exposed Israel's secret weapons programme at Dimona. Vanunu was later abducted by Mossad agents and has been in prison, much of the time in solitary confinement, ever since.
Makhoul told the other MPs: "Vanunu is not the problem. The problem is the Israeli government's policy. A policy that's turned a small territory into a poisonous nuclear waste bin ... which could make us all disappear in a nuclear cloud."
Most right-wing MPs were not in the chamber to protest: they had stormed out before Makhoul got up to speak. Instead left-wing MPs shouted abuse, including Ophir Pines of Labour who called out: "You are committing a crime against Israeli Arabs today."
Makhoul outraged the Israeli government and the general public again, in June this year, by appearing in the BBC documentary "Israel's Secret Weapon", which examined in detail Israel's record of acquiring WMDs and its concerted effort to intimidate those who try to speak out.
In one scene a series of officials refuse to give an interview to the BBC reporter over the phone, several saying that they do not want to suffer Vanunu's fate. Makhoul, on the other hand, is shown castigating Israel for dragging the region into a nuclear arms race.
The broadcast so angered Israel that it cut all official ties with the BBC, including its reporters; a ban that was only reversed this week after the BBC -- in what was widely seen as an attempt to ingratiate itself with the Sharon government -- agreed to set up a Mideast news ombudsman to ensure the "impartiality" of its reports.
Few Israeli officials are prepared to link the bomb attack with the MP's campaign against the country's nuclear arsenal. The producers of the BBC programme e-mailed Makhoul after the explosion to say they hoped it was not the result of the broadcast.
However, Roman Bronfman, a Haifa member of the Knesset from the Meretz Party who has close contacts with Israel's large Russian community, says he has heard that a group of extreme right-wing Russian students at the Technion technical college in Haifa planted the device. Four groups at the college are believed to have openly opposed Makhoul's nuclear views. Bronfman has handed a list of suspects to the police, though so far no action has been taken.
Sources close to Makhoul, however, believe that the assassination plot cannot be lightly dismissed as the work of fanatics. The police have told the MP that the culprits must have carried out detailed research of his movements before deciding where and when to plant the bomb.
But the size of the bomb, weighing less than one kilogramme, suggests it was meant less to kill and more to send a message -- not the usual tactics of a Jewish terror cell.
The attack also follows a campaign of widespread incitement against Makhoul, which the authorities, including the attorney-general, have done nothing to curb.
Typical was an interview of Makhoul on a Tel Aviv radio talk show with a former right-wing Knesset member, Shmuel Platto Sharon, two weeks after the assassination attempt and close to the anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination by right-wing extremists.
Although ostensibly there to talk about Israel's nuclear policies, Makhoul is interrupted by Sharon who barks at him with the question, "Why do you hate us?", and the statement, "You are dangerous". Later Sharon again interrupts to say, "You have no business being here [in Israel] -- you should go to Palestine." He then adds: "I know your game. You eat Jews. People like you shouldn't stay in this country."
Friends of Makhoul fear that the climate of hatred against him is receiving official sanction. Some of the continuing official hostility towards Makhoul may derive from his determination to create an anti-nuclear campaign inside Israel. He observes: "Israel is the only nuclear state in the world that hasn't developed a 'ban the bomb' movement, either within the peace camp or the green movement. Here uniquely, it seems, the Israeli bomb is seen as a peaceful bomb. Those who call themselves peace activists are really apologists for Israel's continuing nuclear policy."
By Margareta Pagano
You can't get much hotter than Jacob Rothschild. Over the past few weeks this doyen of finance and the arts has flown as close to the sun as one can get by stepping into two of the world's most controversial corporate and geo-political hot spots.
He is the new deputy chairman of BskyB where Rupert Murdoch's son, James, has just been elected chief executive, and he was rumoured to be the trustee of shares in Yukos owned by the jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky - reputedly Russia,s richest man. What is so extraordinary is that Lord Rothschild, a rather quiet, highly cultured grandee who has always shunned the public spotlight in his business affairs, should choose now to tread the boards.
Since 1980, when he so famously left the family bank, NM Rothschild, following a row over strategy with his cousin, Sir Evelyn Rothschild, he has pursued a relatively quiet career steering clear of the oxygen of publicity by keeping his interests unquoted. Until BSkyB, Rothschild has sat on the board of only one listed company.
Instead, he spent the past two decades building a series of highly successful companies in insurance, banking and investment including Five Arrows, St James,s Place Capital, which he ran with Sir Mark Weinberg, and J Rothschild Assurance. Today, he runs RIT Capital Partners, an investment management company with a portfolio of £700m ($1bn). His personal fortune is reputed to be £400m.
The great exception to his pursuit of the quiet life came in early 1989, when, with Sir James Goldsmith and Kerry Packer, he created Hoylake to bid for BAT, the tobacco group. He enjoys having invented the notorious 'unbundlin' expression, which was to be used by many an entrepreneur as they went about breaking up monoliths.
So Rothschild,s decision to join the BSkyB board is all the more astonishing. Even people working with him in his office at RIT have been asking why he is doing it.
Close friends are equally mystified. Perhaps he likes to surprise, to do the unpredictable, just as he has done through his friendship with the jailed Khodorkovsky, whose political ambitions are said to have troubled President Putin and led to his arrest.
There are a few clues. He knows Rupert Murdoch well, having been friends since the Australian newspaper proprietor first came to the UK in the 1960s. The job is clearly a challenge the 67-year-old finds irresistible, one made all the more fascinating simply because of all the fuss kicked up by investors furious at what they considered Murdoch,s blatant nepotism in pushing through his son,s appointment.
But as one friend said, Rothschild is likely to have considerable sympathy for the view that Murdoch is probably more ruthless and 'self-selecting' in his choice of heir than anyone else, having already knocked his older children, Elisabeth and Lachlan, out of the race. "Jacob is a very loyal man. Maybe he likes the idea that he can play elder statesman to the younger Murdoch while helping the father too. He will also be powerful in helping bring new fresh blood on to the board which needs reform. He,s not frightened of being a rebel," he said.
One of Rothschild's supporters was Allan Leighton, a BSkyB non-executive director since 1999 and the new chairman of its audit committee. He had suggested Rothschild to the headhunters Spencer Stuart as someone who was "confident, independently wealthy, and could add enormously to the board".
Meanwhile, Rothschild's links with Russia's Khodorkovsky, until recently head of the Yukos oil company, go back three to four years and stem from their shared love of the arts and philanthropy. Rothschild met Khodorkovsky through their patronage of the Hermitage Rooms at London's Somerset House but the two struck up friendship when the Russian businessman invited Rothschild to become a trustee of the Open Russia Foundation that he opened in London to promote educational and cultural ties between Russia and the West.
But the true extent of their relationship became muddied last week after reports that Khodorkovsky, who was jailed last week for fraud and tax evasion, had transferred his share stake in the event of arrest to Rothschild, who would act as a trustee. However, Menatap, the Gibraltar-based holding parent company of Yukos, has consistently denied that Rothschild had any rights or links to the shares or that he was a shareholder himself.
Menatep's Yury Kotler has said Rothschild had no involvement but that the shares were held in trust by Leonid Nevzlin, himself a big Yukos investor, now in exile in Israel. Rumours have been swirling in Russia for months that Rothschild might even become chairman of Yukos, but these have all been dismissed.
Rothschild's London office maintains a Soviet-style silence on the issue, refusing to make any comments on the share stake, other than to report that "Khodorkovsky is a progressive businessman who is devoted to Russia".
Nathaniel Charles Jacob Rothschild is the head of the UK Rothschild family, having inherited the fourth baronetcy from his father, Victor, an eminent zoologist, who married a Strachey, one of the Bloomsbury set. His father was a sometime MI5 agent, interested too in politics, having chaired Prime Minister Edward Heath,s Central Policy Review Staff in 1971, often known just as the Think Tank.
Rothschild was brought up in a conventional upper-class British way: Eton, and Christ Church, Oxford, where he gained a first in history. He worked for years at the family bank, running the corporate finance department, and was chairman of the executive committee before quitting suddenly in 1980 after the row with his cousin. The job of running the family bank had already passed to Sir Evelyn because Lord Rothschild's father had chosen science rather than banking as his career.
Like that slightly older generation of Jewish aesthetes, such as Sir Isaiah Berlin, whom he knew well, Lord Rothschild is extremely proud of his heritage and has worked passionately to strengthen ties with Israel.
He is chairman of Yad Hanadiv, the Rothschild foundation, which built and gave the Knesset government buildings and the Supreme Court to Israel, and chairs the Jewish Policy Research, dedicated to promoting issues affecting Jews worldwide.
At the same time he is equally energetic in the UK's art world and is a dynamic patron of a multitude of cultural projects. He caused a stir by spending some £10m on refurbishing Spencer House, the former home of the late Princess of Wales, family, in which he lives. As chairman of the National Gallery from 1985 to 1991, he oversaw the building of the Sainsbury wing and has just finished six years as chairman of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, during which he helped donate £1.25bn of National Lottery money for heritage works in the UK. On a more quixotic note, he has worked with Lord Sainsbury for the conservation of archeological sites in Butrint, Albania. He also looks after Waddesdon Manor, given to the National Trust by a cousin, Mrs James Rothschild, and is a director of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.
There aren't too many families like the Rothschilds that demonstrate so well the ability to pass on good genes. After all, they have been the power behind the throne of many a government since the family first arrived in Britain in the 1700s, emigrating from the Frankfurt ghettos.
Their first fortune was made out of the Napoleonic War, when they supplied the Duke of Wellington's soldiers fighting in the Peninsular War with gold for their wages. By the middle of the 19th century, they were spreading their wealth around Britain and France, investing in great properties and vineyards, while helping fund Disraeli's UK government to build the Suez Canal.
Rothschild's children have not joined the family firm. His son, Nat, works for Atticus Capital in New York while his three daughters have an eclectic mix of work and leisure out of the public eye. No wonder Murdoch wants a little advice from his old friend on how to really maintain an empire.
Friday November 21, 2003
David Kelly, giving evidence to the prime minister's intelligence and security committee in closed session on July 16 - the day before his suicide - made a comment the significance of which has so far been missed. He said: "Within the defence intelligence services I liaise with the Rockingham cell." Unfortunately nobody on the committee followed up this lead, which is a pity because the Rockingham reference may turn out to be very important indeed.
What is the role of the Rockingham cell? The evidence comes from a former chief weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter, who had been a US military intelligence officer for eight years and served on the staff of General Schwarzkopf, the US commander of allied forces in the first Gulf war. He has described himself as a card-carrying Republican who voted for Bush, but he distinguished himself in insisting before the Iraq war, and was almost alone in doing so, that almost all of Iraq's WMD had been destroyed as a result of inspections, and the rest either used or destroyed in the first Gulf war. In terms, therefore, of proven accuracy of judgment and weight of experience of the workings of western military intelligence, he is a highly reliable source.
In an interview in the Scottish Sunday Herald in June, Ritter said: "Operation Rockingham [a unit set up by defence intelligence staff within the MoD in 1991] cherry-picked intelligence. It received hard data, but had a preordained outcome in mind. It only put forward a small percentage of the facts when most were ambiguous or noted no WMD... It became part of an effort to maintain a public mindset that Iraq was not in compliance with the inspections. They had to sustain the allegation that Iraq had WMD [when] Unscom was showing the opposite."
Rockingham was, in fact, a clearing house for intelligence, but one with a predetermined political purpose. According to Ritter, "Britain and America were involved [in the 1990s and up to 2003] in a programme of joint exploitation of intelligence from Iraqi defectors. There were mountains of information coming from these defectors, and Rockingham staff were receiving it and then selectively culling [picking out] reports that sustained the [WMD] claims. They ignored the vast majority of the data which mitigated against such claims."
Only one other official reference to Operation Rockingham is on record, in an aside by Brigadier Richard Holmes when giving evidence to the defence select committee in 1998. He linked it to Unscom inspections, but it was clear that the Rockingham staff included military officers and intelligence services representatives together with civilian MoD personnel. Within, therefore, the UK intelligence establishment - MI6, MI5, GCHQ and defence intelligence - Rockingham clearly had a central, though covert, role in seeking to prove an active Iraqi WMD programme.
One of its tactics, which Ritter cites, is its leaking of false information to weapons inspectors, and then, when the search is fruitless, using that as "proof" of the weapons' existence. He quotes a case in 1993 when "Rockingham was the source of some very controversial information which led to inspections of a suspected ballistic missile site. We ... found nothing. However, our act of searching allowed the US and UK to say that the missiles existed."
A parallel exercise was set up by Donald Rumsfeld in the US, named the Office of Special Plans. The purpose of this intelligence agency was the provision of selective intelligence which met the demands of its political masters. Similarly, in the case of the UK, Ritter insists that Rockingham officers were acting on political orders "from the very highest levels".
Both Ritter and British intelligence sources have said that the selective intelligence gathered by Operation Rockingham would have been passed to the joint intelligence committee (JIC), which was behind the dossiers published by the UK government claiming Iraq had WMDs.
The significance of this is highlighted by Tony Blair's statement: "The intelligence that formed the basis of what we put out last September... came from the JIC assessment." So Rockingham was an important tributary flowing into the government's rationale for the war.
This shoehorning of intelligence data to fit pre-fixed political goals, both in the US and the UK, throws new light on the two most controversial elements of the government's dossier of September 2002. One was that Iraq could launch WMD within 45 minutes. Was this "sexed up" on the orders of No 10 or - derived allegedly from an Iraqi brigadier via an informant - did Rockingham put a gloss on it to please its political masters? The other highly contentious item in the dossier was that Saddam tried to buy uranium yellowcake from Africa. How did material that the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded on February 4 was a blatant forgery come to be included in President Bush's January 28 State of the Union address? And, since the British were named as the source, why did MI6 not spot this outlandish forgery? In fact, they alleged that the Niger claim came from another independent source, which has never been identified. Could this be because this disinformation served the Rockingham purpose only too well?
It is not only the massaging of intelligence that seems to have gone on, but also the suppression of the most reliable assessment of the facts. David Kelly, we now know, had been advising privately prior to the war about the likelihood of Iraqi WMD. He told the foreign affairs select committee: "I have no idea whether there were weapons or not at that time [of the September 2002 dossier]". And to the intelligence and security committee the next day he added: "The 30% probability is what I have been saying all the way through ... I said that to many people ... it was a statement I would have probably made for the last six months." Yet this view from the leading expert within government never saw the light of day. Why not?
If the tabloid headlines the day after the September dossier was published had read: "Blair says only 30% chance Iraq has WMDs" rather than "Brits 45 mins from doom" (the Sun), would the Commons vote still have backed the war? Rarely can the selective use of information have had such drastic consequences. If there is one conclusion which must flow from the Hutton revelations, it must surely be the demand for a full-scale independent inquiry into the operation of the intelligence services around the top of their command and their interface with the political system.
· Michael Meacher was environment minister, 1997-2003.
By by John Buchanan
from The New Hampshire Gazette Vol. 248, No. 1, October 10, 2003
By John Buchanan
WASHINGTON - After 60 years of inattention and even denial by the U.S. media, newly-uncovered government documents in The National Archives and Library of Congress reveal that Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President George W. Bush, served as a business partner of and U.S. banking operative for the financial architect of the Nazi war machine from 1926 until 1942, when Congress took aggressive action against Bush and his "enemy national" partners.
The documents also show that Bush and his colleagues, according to reports from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and FBI, tried to conceal their financial alliance with German industrialist Fritz Thyssen, a steel and coal baron who, beginning in the mid-1920s, personally funded Adolf Hitler's rise to power by the subversion of democratic principle and German law.
Furthermore, the declassified records demonstrate that Bush and his associates, who included E. Roland Harriman, younger brother of American icon W. Averell Harriman, and George Herbert Walker, President Bush's maternal great-grandfather, continued their dealings with the German industrial baron for nearly eight months after the U.S. entered the war.
For six decades these historical facts have gone unreported by the mainstream U.S. media. The essential facts have appeared on the Internet and in relatively obscure books, but were dismissed by the media and Bush family as undocumented diatribes. This story has also escaped the attention of "official" Bush biographers, Presidential historians and publishers of U.S. history books covering World War II and its aftermath.
The White House did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.
The unraveling of the web of Bush-Harriman-Thyssen U.S. enterprises, all of which operated out of the same suite of offices at 39 Broadway under the supervision of Prescott Bush, began with a story that ran in the New York Herald-Tribune on July 30, 1942. By then, the U.S. had been at war with Germany for nearly eight months.
"Hitler's Angel Has $3 Million in U.S. Bank," declared the headline. The lead paragraph characterized Fritz Thyssen as "Adolf Hitler's original patron a decade ago." In fact, the steel and coal magnate had aggressively supported and funded Hitler since October 1923, according to Thyssen's autobiography, I Paid Hitler. In that book, Thyssen also acknowledges his direct personal relationships with Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Rudolf Hess.
The Herald-Tribune also cited unnamed sources who suggested Thyssen's U.S. "nest egg" in fact belonged to "Nazi bigwigs" including Goebbels, Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, or even Hitler himself.
The "bank," founded in 1924 by W. Averell Harriman on behalf of Thyssen and his Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart N.V. of Holland, was Union Banking Corporation (UBC) of New York City. According to government documents, it was in reality a clearing house for a number of Thyssen- controlled enterprises and assets, including as many as a dozen individual businesses. UBC also bought and shipped overseas gold, steel, coal, and U.S. Treasury and war bonds. The company's activities were administered for Thyssen by a Netherlands-born, naturalized U.S. citizen named Cornelis Lievense, who served as president of UBC. Roland Harriman was chairman and Prescott Bush a managing director.
The Herald-Tribune article did not identify Bush or Harriman as executives of UBC, or Brown Brothers Harriman, in which they were partners, as UBC's private banker. A confidential FBI memo from that period suggested, without naming the Bush and Harriman families, that politically prominent individuals were about to come under official U.S. government scrutiny as Hitler's plunder of Europe continued unabated.
After the "Hitler's Angel" article was published Bush and Harriman made no attempts to divest themselves of the controversial Thyssen financial alliance, nor did they challenge the newspaper report that UBC was, in fact, a de facto Nazi front organization in the U.S.
Instead, the government documents show, Bush and his partners increased their subterfuge to try to conceal the true nature and ownership of their various businesses, particularly after the U.S. entered the war. The documents also disclose that Cornelis Lievense, Thyssen's personal appointee to oversee U.S. matters for his Rotterdam-based Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart N.V., via UBC for nearly two decades, repeatedly denied to U.S. government investigators any knowledge of the ownership of the Netherlands bank or the role of Thyssen in it.
UBC's original group of business associates included George Herbert Walker, who had a relationship with the Harriman family that began in 1919. In 1922, Walker and W. Averell Harriman traveled to Berlin to set up the German branch of their banking and investment operations, which were largely based on critical war resources such as steel and coal.
The Walker-Harriman-created German industrial alliance also included partnership with another German titan who supported Hitler's rise, Friedrich Flick, who partnered with Thyssen in the German Steel Trust that forged the Nazi war machine. For his role in using slave labor and his own steel, coal and arms resources to build Hitler's war effort, Flick was convicted at the Nuremberg trials and sentenced to seven years in prison.
In 1926, after Prescott Bush had married Walker's daughter, Dorothy, Walker brought Bush in as a vice president of the private banking and investment firm of W.A. Harriman & Co., also located in New York. Bush became a partner in the firm that later became Brown Brothers Harriman and the largest private investment bank in the world. Eventually, Bush became a director of and stockholder in UBC.
However, the government documents note that Bush, Harriman, Lievense and the other UBC stockholders were in fact "nominees," or phantom shareholders, for Thyssen and his Holland bank, meaning that they acted at the direct behest of their German client.
On October 20, 1942, under authority of the Trading with the Enemy Act, the U.S. Congress seized UBC and liquidated its assets after the war. The seizure is confirmed by Vesting Order No. 248 in the U.S. Office of the Alien Property Custodian and signed by U.S. Alien Property Custodian Leo T. Crowley.
In August, under the same authority, Congress had seized the first of the Bush-Harriman-managed Thyssen entities, Hamburg-American Line, under Vesting Order No. 126, also signed by Crowley. Eight days after the seizure of UBC, Congress invoked the Trading with the Enemy Act again to take control of two more Bush-Harriman-Thyssen businesses - Holland-American Trading Corp. (Vesting Order No. 261) and Seamless Steel Equipment Corp (Vesting Order No. 259). In November, Congress seized the Nazi interests in Silesian- American Corporation, which allegedly profited from slave labor at Auschwitz via a partnership with I.G. Farben, Hitler's third major industrial patron and partner in the infrastructure of the Third Reich.
The documents from the Archives also show that the Bushes and Harrimans shipped valuable U.S. assets, including gold, coal, steel and U.S. Treasury and war bonds, to their foreign clients overseas as Hitler geared up for his 1939 invasion of Poland, the event that sparked World War II.
Following the Congressional seizures of UBC and the other four Bush- Harriman-Thyssen enterprises, The New York Times reported on December 16, 1944, in a brief story on page 25, that UBC had "received authority to change its principal place of business to 120 Broadway." The Times story did not report that UBC had been seized by the U.S. government or that the new address was the U.S. Office of the Alien Property Custodian. The story also neglected to mention that the other UBC-related businesses had also been seized by Congress.
Since then, the information has not appeared in any U.S. news coverage of any Bush political campaign, nor has it been included in any of the major Bush family biographies. It was, however, covered extensively in George H.W. Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin. Chaitkin's father served as an attorney in the 1940s for some of the victims of the Bush-Harriman-Thyssen businesses.
The book gave a detailed, accurate accounting of the Bush family's long Nazi affiliation, but no mainstream U.S. media entity reported on or even investigated the allegations, despite careful documentation by the authors. Major booksellers declined to distribute the book, which was dismissed by Bush supporters as biased and untrue. Its authors struggled even to be reviewed in reputable newspapers. That the book was published by a Lyndon LaRouche's organization undoubtedly made it easier to dismiss, but does not change the facts.
The essence of the story been posted for years on various Internet sites, including BuzzFlash.com and TakeBackTheMedia.com, but no online media seem to have independently confirmed it.
Likewise, the mainstream media have apparently made no attempt since World War II to either verify or disprove the allegations of Nazi collaboration against the Bush family. Instead, they have attempted to dismiss or discredit such Internet sites or "unauthorized" books without any journalistic inquiry or research into their veracity.
The National Review ran an essay on September 1 by their White House correspondent Byron York, entitled "Annals of Bush-Hating." It begins mockingly: "Are you aware of the murderous history of George W. Bush - indeed, of the entire Bush family? Are you aware of the president's Nazi sympathies? His crimes against humanity? And do you know, by the way, that George W. Bush is a certifiable moron?" York goes on to discredit the "Bush is a moron" IQ hoax, but fails to disprove the Nazi connection.
The more liberal Boston Globe ran a column September 29 by Reason magazine's Cathy Young in which she referred to "Bush-o-phobes on the Internet" who "repeat preposterous claims about the Bush family's alleged Nazi connections."
Newsweek Polska, the magazine's Polish edition, published a short piece on the "Bush Nazi past" in its March 5, 2003 edition. The item reported that "the Bush family reaped rewards from the forced-labor prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp," according to a copyrighted English-language translation from Scoop Media (www.scoop.co.nz). The story also reported the seizure of the various Bush-Harriman-Thyssen businesses.
Major U.S. media outlets, including ABC News, NBC News, The New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times and Miami Herald, have repeatedly declined to investigate the story when information regarding discovery of the documents was presented to them beginning Friday, August 29. Newsweek U.S. correspondent Michael Isikoff, famous for his reporting of big scoops during the Clinton-Lewinsky sexual affair of the 1990s, declined twice to accept an exclusive story based on the documents from the archives.
After the seizures of the various businesses they oversaw with Cornelis Lievense and his German partners, the U.S. government quietly settled with Bush, Harriman and others after the war. Bush and Harriman each received $1.5 million in cash as compensation for their seized business assets.
In 1952, Prescott Bush was elected to the U.S. Senate, with no press accounts about his well-concealed Nazi past. There is no record of any U.S. press coverage of the Bush-Nazi connection during any political campaigns conducted by George Herbert Walker Bush, Jeb Bush, or George W. Bush, with the exception of a brief mention in an unrelated story in the Sarasota Herald Tribune in November 2000 and a brief but inaccurate account in The Boston Globe in 2001.
John Buchanan is a journalist and investigative reporter with 33 years of experience in New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Miami. His work has appeared in more than 50 newspapers, magazines and books. He can be reached by e-mail at: email@example.com.
By James Blitz in London and James Harding in Washington
Published: September 26 2003 20:26 | Last Updated: September 26 2003 20:26
Half the British public believe Tony Blair should resign, according to a new opinion poll illustrating the extent to which the UK prime minister has lost public trust as a result of the Iraq war.
In the week that has seen George W. Bush's popularity falling to the lowest level of his presidency, the slump in confidence in Mr Blair underlines how the invasion of Iraq has damaged the political prospects of the two leading advocates of war.
As Mr Blair heads to his party's annual conference this weekend where he is bound to face criticism over Iraq and his government's failure to deliver health reforms, public support appears to be shifting towards his presumed successor, Gordon Brown.
The Financial Times poll, conducted by Mori between September 11 and 16, shows that Labour continues to enjoy a nine-point lead over the opposition Conservatives in a sample of people certain to vote at the next general election, suggesting that, despite Mr Blair's troubles, he would be re-elected tomorrow.
But when the same voters are asked how they would vote if Mr Brown, finance minister, were Labour leader, the party's lead rises from nine points to 15 points.
Mr Bush has not faced the same levels of public disapproval. But in the last week opinion polls have shown a marked deterioration in US public support for the president. Both a Gallup/CNN poll and a Zogby poll put Mr Bush's approval rating at 50 per cent, the lowest since he took office. The NBC/Wall Street Journal measured his approval rating at 49 per cent.
On Iraq, in particular, Mr Bush is getting negative reviews. A Newsweek poll showed for the first time more Americans disapproving than approving of the president's handling of Iraq.
In the FT poll, people were asked whether t hey agreed with the statement that "it's now time for Tony Blair to resign and hand over to someone else". Fifty per cent said they agreed with that statement, 39 per cent said they disagreed and 11 per cent said they don't know. Some 64 per cent said they were dissatisfied with Mr Blair's performance, an all-time high. On Friday, the first US troops serving in Iraq to get a holiday as part of the Pentagon's largest home-leave programme since the Vietnam war arrived back on their home bases. Officials acknowledge there is a public relations risk of disgruntled US service personnel voicing their complaints on television.
Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst.
David MacMichael, former CIA analyst.
AMY GOODMAN: A number of senators including New York Senator Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Congress Member Harry Waxman and others have called for an investigation into who outed Joseph Wilsons wife, Valerie Plame as a CIA operative, who blew her cover. We called the White House to see if they were conducting an investigation. They said to call the FBI. We called the FBI. They said theyre looking into it but that they would not yet classify it as an investigation. Well today we turn to an interview that I did with two former CIA analysts to talk about just what it means for an analyst or agent to have their cover blown. While we had them in the studio, we talked about many other issues as well to shed some light on the way intelligence or lack of it has been used over the years. We began with former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who worked closely with George Bush senior when he was Director of Central Intelligence right through his presidency. And the law was passed under Bushs watch that made the blowing of a covert operative a felony. Were going to turn now to that interview.
Lets go back in time to something former President Bush, this is George Bush senior, said. Langley, Virginia, he is at the Central Intelligence Agency Im reading from an Associated Press report:
Former President Bush, helping the CIA celebrate its 50th birthday, called agency critics nuts. He singled out for criticism Philip Agee, a former CIA agent and later critic of the agency. Remember Philip Agee, who I consider a traitor to our country?'' Bush asked, referring to Agee's efforts to expose CIA operations and identify spies. Bush said some of the criticism of the Directorate of Operations ruined secret U.S. clandestine operations in foreign countries and, in one instance, blew the cover of CIA station chief in Greece, Richard Welch, who was assassinated outside his residence in Greece in the mid-1970s. Bush was careful not to directly link Agee to Welch's death. Agee dropped a defamation suit against former first lady Barbara Bush earlier this year after Mrs. Bush acknowledged that the first edition of her memoir was erroneous in saying that Agee had exposed Welch's identity.'' David MacMichael, explain this.
DAVID MACMICHAEL: Well after the Mrs. Bushs memoir came out with that statement which charged Phillip Agee effectively with commission of a felony, that is, violation of exposing this - exposing Richard Welch ok, thats a libel per se, as they say in law. Phillip Agee filed a suit some months after the book came out in Washington DC charging libel and seeking damages for that. He did not drop the suit. The case was dismissed by the presiding judge on grounds that Phillips place of residence at the time did not give him standing to sue in US courts on this, and the case went away. The subsequent, as I think the article indicates and you said, the subsequent additions of Mrs. Bushs book did not contain this erroneous charge, but it serves to indicate that this is a very serious matter. If former President Bush could define Philip Agee as a traitor for exposing the identities of serving intelligence officers, if his sons political advisor has done the same, while it has not come under the heading of treason, believe me, it is a very serious felony under the current Act.
AMY GOODMAN:Ray McGovern you worked for George Bush in the CIA when he was director of Central Intelligence. It was right at the time of the Richard Welch assassination. Were you at this 50th anniversary party?
RAY MCGOVERN: I was. They invited a whole bunch of alumni and alumnae back, so I was witness to those events. I would like to add that I do not condone what Phillip Agee did, nor does Dave. However, I think that ..
AMY GOODMAN: Though he says he did not expose Richard Welch as a CIA man.
RAY MCGOVERN: Well not Richard Welch, but he did expose many operations and many identities and that is really unconscionable. But what I would say is that the law came in, if Im not mistaken, Dave, in direct reaction to what Agee had done. This was the Intelligence Identities law and it was made draconian, it was made very, very specific, automatic penalties that would accrue to both officials and non-officials - anyone who knowingly disclosed the identity of a CIA agent or officer under cover. And so with that kind of background, you get an idea of for how critical it was, it was judged to be, that agency operations which depend on concealed identities needed to be protected and needed to be protected in such a way that those violating those confidences would be prosecuted and extremely penalized.
What this indicates, I mean, this is all sort of in the weeds until you step back and you say why is all this happening? It is all happening because there are lies upon lies, deceit upon deceit that have been used to justify this illegal war on against an unprovoked enemy, or an enemy that does not provoke us. Once the lies start unraveling, and people see they can speak out, that is going to be real trouble for the administration, and so what do you do? You do all you can to intimidate them. And how you intimidate them is to try to hurt them in a personal way. Going after somebodys wife, I mean, not even Richard Nixon stooped to that.
AMY GOODMAN: Were talking to Ray McGovern and David MacMichael, two former CIA analysts with the agency for more than a quarter of a century. Well be right back with that in a minute.
You are listening to Democracy Now! Ray McGovern, our guest, former CIA analyst. You were with the CIA for
RAY MCGOVERN: 27 years.
AMY GOODMAN: And you worked directly under George Bush
RAY MCGOVERN: I did when he was director for CIA and later I saw him every other morning for a couple of years in the 80s when he was Vice President.
AMY GOODMAN: Doing what?
RAY MCGOVERN: I was one of the briefers who prepared the Presidents daily brief and delivered it and briefed people one on one with the senior officials downtown.
AMY GOODMAN:Now one of the things we are talking about a lot and seeing a lot is that the same people that were there during the Reagan-Bush years and even before, the Wolfowitzes the Rumsfelds, Cheneys were there then. What was George Bushs view of these people then?
RAY MCGOVERN: Well, you know its really interesting. When we saw these people coming back in town, all of us said who were around in those days said, oh my god, the crazies are back the crazies thats how we referred to these people.
AMY GOODMAN: Did George Bush refer to them that way?
RAY MCGOVERN: Thats the way everyone referred to them.
AMY GOODMAN: Including George Bush?
RAY MCGOVERN: Well, when Wolfowitz prepared that defense posture statement in 1991, where he elucidated the strategic vision that has now been implemented, Jim Baker, Secretary of State, Brent Scowcroft, security advisor to George Bush, and George Bush said hey, that thing goes right into the circular file. Suppress that thing, get rid of it. Somebody had the presence of mind to leak it and so that was suppressed. But now to see that arise out of the ashes and be implemented. while we start a war against Iraq, I wonder what Bush the first is really thinking. Because these were the same guys that all of us referred to as the crazies.
AMY GOODMAN: Including George Bush
RAY MCGOVERN: I dont want to There is a certain delicacy to all this. The last thing I want to do is to do anything to impede the access of honest analysts who are willing to speak truth to power on these mornings briefings, and so I am not going to quote anything the Vice President said to me directly.
AMY GOODMAN: But on that issue, when you say when Wolfowitz for example, brought forward the defense posture, explain what that was, what he was promoting.
RAY MCGOVERN: Well he was promoting the idea that has now been implemented that we are the single superpower in the world and that we should act like it. Weve got a lot of weight to throw around, we should throw it around. We should assert ourselves in critical areas, like the Middle East and over the next few years the Project for New American Century documents very much elucidate this kind of strategic vision and strategic plan. Its very much like Mein Kampf. Its the ideological strategic justification for what has been happening here. Its empire, its how to increase our influence and not coincidentally, it dovetails expressly with the strategic objectives of Israel in the Middle East. We mean to be the sole superpower, dominant superpower in the world and Israel is determined to remain the superpower in the Middle East. And of course if you talk about weapons of mass destruction, well, check out how many Israel has. And ask yourself when was the last national intelligence estimate on Israeli weapons of mass destruction?
AMY GOODMAN: Are these views common, David MacMichael, in the the intelligence agency, in the CIA for years among analysts?
DAVID MACMICHAEL:I can only speak to those two years that I served on the National Intelligence Council as a Senior Estimates Officer.
AMY GOODMAN:Those years were ?
DAVID MACMICHAEL:Those were 1981-1983 under Reagan and under William Casey. In fact I embarked on that job the day Casey came in. I can assure you that the way in which the National Intelligence Council and the National Intelligence officers, the directing officers in there were stacked during the Casey years, meant that intelligence was designed, and I focused principally on Central America, the whole Iran Contra thing later, truthful analysis was not the highest priority there. The determination was to produce analyses that would support the previously decided upon policy so for me, getting back involved with Ray McGovern here and VIPS dealing with this current situation, its kind of like déjà vu all over again. Its a familiar process.
AMY GOODMAN: VIPS being Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
AMY GOODMAN: And you have put out a call now?
RAY MCGOVERN: We have indeed. There have been a few courageous people who have stood on principle at some personal cost. Ironically, we intelligence professionals, we, unfairly, we tend to dismiss foreign service officers as knee-jerk mouthpieces for the administration. Well, three such foreign service officers have stood on principle and have quit, some of them before the war ever started, and they have issued eloquent statements as to how their conscience would not permit them to have to tell these lies to folks, to try to rally support for an unjust US policy.
There is Andrew Wilke in Australia, an incredible person whom Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity had to this country. We all chipped in and paid for his fare. He spoke in Congress at one of the congressional hearings. Andrew quit the Office of National Assessments in Australia, which is the CIA counterpart, eight days before the war, because he could no longer countenance his country going into a war on the basis of intelligence that he saw to be bogus. And he spoke out immediately, and over the last few weeks, although you wont see it in the US press, he and Prime Minister Howard in Australia have been having a personal argument in the press as to how the intelligence was over-egged as the British say, exaggerated, sexed-up, as some of the other British and Australians say. So there is precedent for people speaking out.
I guess the most prominent American example of that is Daniel Ellsberg. And the interesting thing there is, you know, I asked Daniel Ellsberg, do you have any regrets about outing the Pentagon Papers, which he gave to the NY Times and the Washington Post about Vietnam which showed all the lies and deceit about that policy. He said yes, Ray, I do have one major regret. I said, whats that? He said I did it in 1971, and I should have done it in 1964 or 65 where it could have prevented this war or at least retarded it. And I said Dan, why didnt you do it? And he said, Ray, its hard to believe but it never occurred to me. You know how it is when you get immeshed in this culture and your loyalties get a little perverted, and they become the loyalty to the little group, and its beyond the pale to rise above that and to release information that you know the public should have. Well, that was my mind frame, so it never occurred to me.
And so our latest appeal to intelligence professionals still working on the inside is, well let it occur to you now. There are more important things. And we are not suggesting that they release classified information. All they have to do is tell what happened in months before this war. Tell how bogus information was used, like forgeries, to deceive Congress. This is a constitutional crisis to deceive the other branch of government.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain the forgeries.
RAY MCGOVERN: Well, the forgery we referred to before with respect to alleged Iraqi attempts to seek uranium in Niger.
AMY GOODMAN: You know, we always refer to that, but most people dont know what the fraud was that was perpetrated. Explain what actually happened.
RAY MCGOVERN: What happened was this: in early 2002, Vice President Cheney learned that there was a report floating around that the government of Iraq was seeking uranium for nuclear weapons in the African country of Niger. He was so interested in that for obvious reasons, that he and his staff went to the Central Intelligence Agency and said tell me more about this. The CIA in response found out the best person to send down there, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who knew Africa like the palm of his hand, who had served in Niger as ambassador to other countries.
DAVID MACMICHAEL:Just to intrude here. Joe Wilson was particularly important for that. He had been the Deputy Chief of Mission in Baghdad just prior to the 1991 Iraq war and actually had been serving as effectively the US ambassador there, so he knew Iraq and he knew Africa.
AMY GOODMAN: He was Bushs ambassador to Iraq at that time.
RAY MCGOVERN: Exactly, with high commendations from President Bush the first. So Joe went down there, spent eight days down there checking it out, with the ambassador down there and everybody else who knew this situation. He came back and said it was highly dubious. Number one: The government of Niger cannot, even if it wanted to, give uranium or sell uranium to Iraq. Why? Because it doesnt control it. Who controls it? An international consortium led by the French. Every ounce of the uranium is accounted for. There is no way they could do that. Number 2: Iraq already has several, 50 tons of this yellow cake uranium it doesnt know what to do with.
DAVID MACMICHAEL:And again, to intrude, all of which was under control of the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency
AMY GOODMAN: The yellow cake uranium that Saddam Hussein had.
DAVID MACMICHAEL:The existing uranium ore that they had.
RAY MCGOVERN: So on the strength of that, the ambassadors report was that, forget it, this is really bogus, this report. It just cant the first thing you do as an intelligence analyst or any kind of analyst is look at the substance of the report. If it makes no sense, it hardly matters what kind of source was behind it. But in this case it really did matter because later, it was discovered, that this report came from deliberate forgeries, and crude forgeries at that. And so, what I am reminded of is
AMY GOODMAN: By whom?
RAY MCGOVERN: Well, its not clear. One asks themselves, Qui bono? Who would profit from this kind of thing? And a lot of people suggest it was the Israeli service, Mussad.
AMY GOODMAN: What evidence was there for that?
RAY MCGOVERN: As I say, just speculation on who would profit from this.
DAVID MACMICHAEL:And it I may again intrude, because you are interested in the detail of this, the apparent conduit was through Italian intelligence service. Ray is referring to the forgeries here, the documents that were passed forward. They may have been passed forward by agents, of one or another intelligence agency, who are under pressure to provide information to their control officers. The crude forgeries were purported to be Niger government documents. They were signed by a foreign minister, who had been out of office for many years. They referred to constitutional provisions, which no longer existed in Niger. And this is the reason I would tend to excuse Mussad because they are too good to put forward such blatantly and easily detectable pieces of paper trash. But, go on, Ray.
RAY MCGOVERN: The real conspiratorial thing would be, of course that Mussad would do it in a sloppy way precisely so that folks like David MacMichael would rule them out as the author of that.
AMY GOODMAN: But at this point you dont know the evidence?
RAY MCGOVERN: Well we dont know and it doesnt matter, because the information was false on its face. Why this is important is the following: this time last year, the decision had already been made to go to war. Dick Cheney led off the charge on the 26th of August of last year, when he said among other things that Iraq was starting to reconstitute its nuclear program. Now the next thing they needed to do was persuade Congress that the situation was serious enough so that Congress would cede its war making powers to the executive. What evidence did they have? Well, they looked around. Zippo. Well we have the aluminum tubes. The aluminum tubes had already been discounted by all nuclear scientists and engineers.
AMY GOODMAN: The story that was on the front page of the NY Times the Sunday of Labor Day last year when they rolled out their new product, Judith Millers piece.
RAY MCGOVERN: Exactly right, these were tubes that were alleged to be essential to nuclear processing, the thing that would produce nuclear weapons material. If they checked with the Department of Energy specialists, they would have known right off the bat that these were not suitable for that purpose. And now everybody accepts that that was bogus, but it worked. For those months, it was used in Congress as evidence they were pursuing a nuclear program.
But since there was a lot of controversy there, they looked for what else was around. And somebody said, well, how about those reports that Iraq was seeking uranium in Niger? We can use that for sure. And they said, well, the CIA has poured cold water on that. Yeah, but who is going to know about these doubts? Well, nobody unless we tell them. Do we have to tell anyone about this? The UN wants to know about these reports because theyve got word of them, and we have been putting them off. Well how long can we put them off? Oh, probably, another couple of months. Whats the problem? We use this, we raise the prospect of a mushroom cloud, our first evidence that Saddam has his hands on nuclear weapons might be a mushroom cloud, used by the President on the 7th of October, used by Condeleezza Rice on the 8th of October, used by Victoria Clarke, the Pentagon spokesman on the 9th of October, on the 11th of October, Congress votes to give its war making power to the President.
This was effectively used, and Im sure they said, what if people find out that people find out that this was bogus information and indeed based on a forgery? And the answer had to have been, well look, well get Congress to approve it, well have our war, well win it handly, the people in Baghdad will welcome us with open arms, and then who is going to care at that point? Who is going to care if the case was built on a forgery?
AMY GOODMAN: Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern as well as former CIA analyst David MacMichael. Well come back to their interview. They are two former CIA analysts, who are calling on others to come forward to speak out about what is happening today in the United States. You are listening to Democracy Now! Back with them, in a minute.
Hum Bomb! Allen Ginsburg, here on Democracy Now! Im Amy Goodman, as we return to the interview with two former CIA analysts, Ray McGovern, who worked under George Bush as Director of Central Intelligence and then was part of his daily briefing as President of the United States, this is President Bush senior, as well as David MacMichael, former CIA analyst as well.
You talk about October, and this was before the war. George Tenet has the suggestion taken out of George Bushs speech, a major address he gave at that time. But then the famous 16-word statement in the State of the Union address, which brings us to one of the people who is leaving Intelligence. Can you talk about him and the role that he played?
RAY MCGOVERN: Alan Foley? Alan announced just three days ago that he was leaving, and he was head of the analytic section that had purview over weapons of mass destruction. It was he who suggested that those sixteen offending words not be included in the presidents State of the Union address. He was finally arm twisted into condoning that, with the assurance that it would be blamed on the British.
AMY GOODMAN: Well explain that. He says, and he testifies before Congress
RAY MCGOVERN: Yes, he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that in discussions with a Mr. Joseph of the NSC, he suggested that since the agency didnt vouch for the business about Iraq seeking uranium from Niger, that it ought not to be used in the Presidents Sate of the Union address, and indeed they had managed to get it out of previous presidential speeches. So why did they want to put it back in there? Well, finally he was persuaded that well, lets blame it on the British. Lets say, according to a British report. And Foley said, I suppose that would be alright to blame it on the British. Now, they didnt even say according to a British report. What the President said was the British have learned. Thats a lot different. We are pretty careful with words in the intelligence community, but that is what the President said, the British have learned that Iraq was seeking uranium from an African country..
Now, Foley took the fall with that, along with Tenet, but it was really sort of Tenet saying I confess, she did it. Because Tenet doesnt write these speeches. Condeleezza Rice is responsible for that. So what is Tenet was confessing? Hes confessing to being a lousy proofreader. He didnt read the final draft, and there it was.
AMY GOODMAN: But Alan Foley said we know this not to be true. And they said well, why dont we just leave that part out and say that the British say its true?
RAY MCGOVERN: Well use it anyway and well pin it on the British report. I watched the speech. We all watched the speech. When the President says the British have learned something, the presumption is the President is telling the truth. But the President was not telling the truth and everyone knew that.
AMY GOODMAN: So Alan Foley is leaving. How significant is that, David MacMichael?
DAVID MACMICHAEL:I think its significant. The man cannot continue to identified, whether he supports the policy or not, as an intelligence professional. He can continue to be identified with a process that had been and is being corrupted. I dont like to use these terms but this is an ethical dilemma that officers in these institutions frequently face. You may recall the official state dept report following Iran-Contra on El Salvador. The language is indicative. State Department officers were torn between their desire to tell the truth and their need to support the policy. So these things do come up, and its very difficult for people pursuing careers in these bureaucracies to stand up and be counted at the cost of their careers. And that is just a fact of life.
AMY GOODMAN: Which brings us to Cheneys visits to the CIA. When people hear that they might say, well, hes the Vice President, he can go to the agencies that are under him.
RAY MCGOVERN: Well, people have asked me in my 27 years, has this had happened before, whether it was unusual? And I tell them, this is not unusual, this is unprecedented. The Vice President of the United States never during those 27 years came out to the CIA headquarters for a working visit. Not even George Bush the first came out under those circumstances. He did come out once to supervise or to be in attendance at an awards ceremony, but never on a working visit. That is not how it works.
How it works is we go down in the early morning, and we brief these senior officials, five of them: Vice President, Secretaries of State and Defense, the Assistant to the President for the Security of National Affairs and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. That is how we did business. If there were questions, and they needed more expertise, we would bring down the specialists. But we wouldnt invite them to down to headquarters. This is like inviting money-changers into the temple. Its the inner sanctum, you dont have policy makers sitting at the table as you are, Amy, helping us come up with the correct conclusions, and that is the only explanation as to why Dick Cheney would be making multiple visits out there. Are you sure you thought about this? What about this uranium? Send somebody down there to find all this stuff out. Its very clear. Youre a mid-level official, and youre trying to be a professional, and your boss is sitting behind you. There is a lot of pressure there.
And let me add just one other thing, and that is, Colin Powell brags to this day, very recently he said, and I quote: I spent four days and four nights at CIA headquarters before I made that speech on Feb the 5th, pouring over the evidence, making sure that.. Well, to anyone who knows how the system works, that is bizarre. The Secretary of State shouldnt be going out to CIA headquarters to analyze the evidence and make sure the the evidence by that time, by god, should have been well analyzed, should have been presented in a document to which most people agree and footnotes for those who dont agree, and presented to the Secretary of State in his office on the 7th floor of the State Department, and if he had questions, analysts would come down and see him. The prospect of the Secretary of State and Condeleezza Rice who joined that group, coming out to the agency and saying. OK, where are we at now, five days before his major speech to the UN, is bizarre in the extreme.
Of course we know how that speech came out. All the evidence that was deduced. Where are the 25,000 liters of anthrax? None of that information has been borne out in reality. And soo we have a Secretary of State who picked what he thought was the best evidence, and who said some really interesting things, if you look at that speech.
Let me just say one other thing about that speech. Among the things he said was that we have learned that Qusay, Saddam Husseins son has ordered the removal of prohibited weapons from the presidential palaces. OK? Interesting. OK, so weve learned, thats pretty solid information, it sounds like solid information. Well, a couple of months later, we find Qusay, right? Now, if we are interested in finding out where those weapons of mass destruction are, it would seem to me that someone would have thought, for gods sake, capture this guy. He knows where they are. He ordered their removal. Instead what did they do? They fired ten anti-tank missiles into Qusay and his brother and a nephew of Qusay. Not my idea of how you get to the bottom of the story on weapons of mass destruction.
AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Ray McGovern and David MacMichael. They are both former CIA analysts. Ray McGovern worked under George Bush when he was Director of Central Intelligence and then briefed him when he was Vice President, for how long?
RAY MCGOVERN: For about 2-1/2 years. I did the briefings for four years, but my account in the first two years was the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to get to two other issues. One is the David Kaye report and then 9/11 and the intelligence commission for both of you. The David Kaye report that is supposed to come out, that is supposed to, they stopped saying whether they found weapons of mass destruction every day, that was looking very bad. But they said they would give a final report on this, David Kaye, the former UN weapons inspector. What is happening?
RAY MCGOVERN: It has hit the fan now. Let me just backtrack a little bit. On the 5th of December, Ari Fleischer, the Presidents spokesman was quizzed about all these statement about weapons of mass destruction. He ended up saying, look Secretary of Defense and the President are not going to make statements that there are weapons of mass destruction there unless they have solid evidence to support it.
Later in March after the war had begun, Ari Fleischer said weapons of mass destruction is what this war is about, and we have high confidence that we will find them. So, there is no de-emphasizing the fact that that was the casus belli that the administration introduced. So to suggest now that we are not talking about weapons of mass destruction, but we are talking about papers of mass destruction, let me explain. We dont say weapons of mass destruction anymore. We say weapons of mass destruction programs. What does that mean? That means, in a very sinister way, as David is inclined to point out, Iraq still has nuclear scientists capable of reconstituting this program. That means that we will find, or that we will fabricate, documents showing that they have these plans to start making these weapons again as soon as the UN inspectors leave.
That is all they have, and to think that the solid evidence that Ari Fleischer cited, and the fact that weapons of mass destruction is what this thing was all about, not papers of mass destruction. This is going to come back to haunt them if, and its a big if, if the mainstream press still has the guts to say hey we were taken in, and we dont like to be lied to and on behalf of the American people, we are going to tell the real story here. And the story is that the ostensible justification for this war was bogus, contrived, it was a lie.
DAVID MACMICHAEL: I think one thing that has to be added about David Kaye, who is identified as a former member of UNSCOM, that is the United Nations weapons inspection team, prior to the 1998 bombing and the departure of the weapons inspectors and prior to their reinitiation under UN resolution 1441,
David Kaye in fact, and this is not revealing the identity of an intelligence officer was in fact a CIA officer at that time. One of the reasons the initial inspections process broke down was because the United States and other member states of the inspections team began introducing their intelligence officers into this and in fact as its been documented, planting listening devices in the places they were going for intelligence purposes, not for weapons inspections purposes.
A second point to remember is the primary task of the intelligence officer is to recruit agents. In other words, one could reasonably assume that, using their cover as weapons inspectors, they were attempting to recruit Iraqi nationals to serve as intelligence agents. Naturally the counterintelligence of any country attempts to block this and it did serve to discredit the initial inspection process. So that is one thing that is important to remember about David Kayes background.
And as Ray has pointed out, the emphasis is on the programs. I joke a lot about these things, unfortunately I have a bad sense of humor, and they will certainly find that Iraqi universities and even high school have courses in physics and chemistry. You can draw your obvious conclusions from that. This has been pretty well flagged in advance that this is the way the Kaye report will pass on.
When Mr. Rumsfeld made his recent swing through Iraq and the Middle East, he essentially dismissed questions about the Kaye report. He said, Well, well know when it comes out. Its very disturbing, but it gets back to the question that was raised earlier, about how the United States press, media and the United States public will react when it can be sufficiently demonstrated that the rationale for going to war with Iraq was, at best, shakily founded in the truth.
My reaction to this, again going back since I have been working on this for the last 20 years, going thorough with Iran Contra and on, is that the general feeling in the United States, is that our ends are good always, so who worries about the means. In one anecdote that I think is illustrative, in 1985 during the first elections in Nicaragua following the revolution down there, the United States began to out forth reports that Nicaragua had acquired MIG fighters from the Soviet Union, you may recall this incident.
This was big buzz, the United States Fleet units were moved off the coast of Nicaragua, and the fever was going. I happened to attend the news conference that the Nicaragua Foreign Minister Miguel DEscoto was giving on this subject, and he was pointing out that this was entirely unfounded, that there were none, that it was being accepted. The correspondent for the Washington Post was there, Bob McCartney, and he got up and said, Mr. Foreign Minister, I accept what you are saying, but suppose it were true that Nicaragua was getting this sort of weaponry, wouldnt it be logical for the United States to respond like this? And Father DEscoto looked at him a long time and said Mr. McCartney, we are not talking logical, we are talking pathological.
AMY GOODMAN: David MacMichael, former CIA analyst, and Ray McGovern, fomer CIA analyst. Ray McGovern served as a CIA analyst for almost 30 years. From 1981-1985, he conducted daily briefings for George Bush as Vice President under Ronald Reagan. That does it for todays program.
To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program, call 1 (800) 881-2359.
Saturday September 6, 2003 The Guardian
Massive attention has now been given - and rightly so - to the reasons why Britain went to war against Iraq. But far too little attention has focused on why the US went to war, and that throws light on British motives too. The conventional explanation is that after the Twin Towers were hit, retaliation against al- Qaida bases in Afghanistan was a natural first step in launching a global war against terrorism. Then, because Saddam Hussein was alleged by the US and UK governments to retain weapons of mass destruction, the war could be extended to Iraq as well. However this theory does not fit all the facts. The truth may be a great deal murkier.
We now know that a blueprint for the creation of a global Pax Americana was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), Jeb Bush (George Bush's younger brother) and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences, was written in September 2000 by the neoconservative think tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says "while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
The PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document attributed to Wolfowitz and Libby which said the US must "discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role". It refers to key allies such as the UK as "the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership". It describes peacekeeping missions as "demanding American political leadership rather than that of the UN". It says "even should Saddam pass from the scene", US bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently... as "Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has". It spotlights China for "regime change", saying "it is time to increase the presence of American forces in SE Asia".
The document also calls for the creation of "US space forces" to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent "enemies" using the internet against the US. It also hints that the US may consider developing biological weapons "that can target specific genotypes [and] may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool".
Finally - written a year before 9/11 - it pinpoints North Korea, Syria and Iran as dangerous regimes, and says their existence justifies the creation of a "worldwide command and control system". This is a blueprint for US world domination. But before it is dismissed as an agenda for rightwing fantasists, it is clear it provides a much better explanation of what actually happened before, during and after 9/11 than the global war on terrorism thesis. This can be seen in several ways.
First, it is clear the US authorities did little or nothing to pre- empt the events of 9/11. It is known that at least 11 countries provided advance warning to the US of the 9/11 attacks. Two senior Mossad experts were sent to Washington in August 2001 to alert the CIA and FBI to a cell of 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation (Daily Telegraph, September 16 2001). The list they provided included the names of four of the 9/11 hijackers, none of whom was arrested.
It had been known as early as 1996 that there were plans to hit Washington targets with aeroplanes. Then in 1999 a US national intelligence council report noted that "al-Qaida suicide bombers could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House".
Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers obtained their visas in Saudi Arabia. Michael Springman, the former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, has stated that since 1987 the CIA had been illicitly issuing visas to unqualified applicants from the Middle East and bringing them to the US for training in terrorism for the Afghan war in collaboration with Bin Laden (BBC, November 6 2001). It seems this operation continued after the Afghan war for other purposes. It is also reported that five of the hijackers received training at secure US military installations in the 1990s (Newsweek, September 15 2001).
Instructive leads prior to 9/11 were not followed up. French Moroccan flight student Zacarias Moussaoui (now thought to be the 20th hijacker) was arrested in August 2001 after an instructor reported he showed a suspicious interest in learning how to steer large airliners. When US agents learned from French intelligence he had radical Islamist ties, they sought a warrant to search his computer, which contained clues to the September 11 mission (Times, November 3 2001). But they were turned down by the FBI. One agent wrote, a month before 9/11, that Moussaoui might be planning to crash into the Twin Towers (Newsweek, May 20 2002).
All of this makes it all the more astonishing - on the war on terrorism perspective - that there was such slow reaction on September 11 itself. The first hijacking was suspected at not later than 8.20am, and the last hijacked aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania at 10.06am. Not a single fighter plane was scrambled to investigate from the US Andrews airforce base, just 10 miles from Washington DC, until after the third plane had hit the Pentagon at 9.38 am. Why not? There were standard FAA intercept procedures for hijacked aircraft before 9/11. Between September 2000 and June 2001 the US military launched fighter aircraft on 67 occasions to chase suspicious aircraft (AP, August 13 2002). It is a US legal requirement that once an aircraft has moved significantly off its flight plan, fighter planes are sent up to investigate.
Was this inaction simply the result of key people disregarding, or being ignorant of, the evidence? Or could US air security operations have been deliberately stood down on September 11? If so, why, and on whose authority? The former US federal crimes prosecutor, John Loftus, has said: "The information provided by European intelligence services prior to 9/11 was so extensive that it is no longer possible for either the CIA or FBI to assert a defence of incompetence."
Nor is the US response after 9/11 any better. No serious attempt has ever been made to catch Bin Laden. In late September and early October 2001, leaders of Pakistan's two Islamist parties negotiated Bin Laden's extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for 9/11. However, a US official said, significantly, that "casting our objectives too narrowly" risked "a premature collapse of the international effort if by some lucky chance Mr Bin Laden was captured". The US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Myers, went so far as to say that "the goal has never been to get Bin Laden" (AP, April 5 2002). The whistleblowing FBI agent Robert Wright told ABC News (December 19 2002) that FBI headquarters wanted no arrests. And in November 2001 the US airforce complained it had had al- Qaida and Taliban leaders in its sights as many as 10 times over the previous six weeks, but had been unable to attack because they did not receive permission quickly enough (Time Magazine, May 13 2002). None of this assembled evidence, all of which comes from sources already in the public domain, is compatible with the idea of a real, determined war on terrorism.
The catalogue of evidence does, however, fall into place when set against the PNAC blueprint. From this it seems that the so- called "war on terrorism" is being used largely as bogus cover for achieving wider US strategic geopolitical objectives. Indeed Tony Blair himself hinted at this when he said to the Commons liaison committee: "To be truthful about it, there was no way we could have got the public consent to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan but for what happened on September 11" (Times, July 17 2002). Similarly Rumsfeld was so determined to obtain a rationale for an attack on Iraq that on 10 separate occasions he asked the CIA to find evidence linking Iraq to 9/11; the CIA repeatedly came back empty-handed (Time Magazine, May 13 2002).
In fact, 9/11 offered an extremely convenient pretext to put the PNAC plan into action. The evidence again is quite clear that plans for military action against Afghanistan and Iraq were in hand well before 9/11. A report prepared for the US government from the Baker Institute of Public Policy stated in April 2001 that "the US remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma. Iraq remains a destabilising influence to... the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East". Submitted to Vice-President Cheney's energy task group, the report recommended that because this was an unacceptable risk to the US, "military intervention" was necessary (Sunday Herald, October 6 2002).
Similar evidence exists in regard to Afghanistan. The BBC reported (September 18 2001) that Niaz Niak, a former Pakistan foreign secretary, was told by senior American officials at a meeting in Berlin in mid-July 2001 that "military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October". Until July 2001 the US government saw the Taliban regime as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of hydrocarbon pipelines from the oil and gas fields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean. But, confronted with the Taliban's refusal to accept US conditions, the US representatives told them "either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs" (Inter Press Service, November 15 2001).
Given this background, it is not surprising that some have seen the US failure to avert the 9/11 attacks as creating an invaluable pretext for attacking Afghanistan in a war that had clearly already been well planned in advance. There is a possible precedent for this. The US national archives reveal that President Roosevelt used exactly this approach in relation to Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941. Some advance warning of the attacks was received, but the information never reached the US fleet. The ensuing national outrage persuaded a reluctant US public to join the second world war. Similarly the PNAC blueprint of September 2000 states that the process of transforming the US into "tomorrow's dominant force" is likely to be a long one in the absence of "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor". The 9/11 attacks allowed the US to press the "go" button for a strategy in accordance with the PNAC agenda which it would otherwise have been politically impossible to implement.
The overriding motivation for this political smokescreen is that the US and the UK are beginning to run out of secure hydrocarbon energy supplies. By 2010 the Muslim world will control as much as 60% of the world's oil production and, even more importantly, 95% of remaining global oil export capacity. As demand is increasing, so supply is decreasing, continually since the 1960s.
This is leading to increasing dependence on foreign oil supplies for both the US and the UK. The US, which in 1990 produced domestically 57% of its total energy demand, is predicted to produce only 39% of its needs by 2010. A DTI minister has admitted that the UK could be facing "severe" gas shortages by 2005. The UK government has confirmed that 70% of our electricity will come from gas by 2020, and 90% of that will be imported. In that context it should be noted that Iraq has 110 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in addition to its oil.
A report from the commission on America's national interests in July 2000 noted that the most promising new source of world supplies was the Caspian region, and this would relieve US dependence on Saudi Arabia. To diversify supply routes from the Caspian, one pipeline would run westward via Azerbaijan and Georgia to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Another would extend eastwards through Afghanistan and Pakistan and terminate near the Indian border. This would rescue Enron's beleaguered power plant at Dabhol on India's west coast, in which Enron had sunk $3bn investment and whose economic survival was dependent on access to cheap gas.
Nor has the UK been disinterested in this scramble for the remaining world supplies of hydrocarbons, and this may partly explain British participation in US military actions. Lord Browne, chief executive of BP, warned Washington not to carve up Iraq for its own oil companies in the aftermath of war (Guardian, October 30 2002). And when a British foreign minister met Gadaffi in his desert tent in August 2002, it was said that "the UK does not want to lose out to other European nations already jostling for advantage when it comes to potentially lucrative oil contracts" with Libya (BBC Online, August 10 2002).
The conclusion of all this analysis must surely be that the "global war on terrorism" has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a wholly different agenda - the US goal of world hegemony, built around securing by force command over the oil supplies required to drive the whole project. Is collusion in this myth and junior participation in this project really a proper aspiration for British foreign policy? If there was ever need to justify a more objective British stance, driven by our own independent goals, this whole depressing saga surely provides all the evidence needed for a radical change of course.
· Michael Meacher MP was environment minister from May 1997 to June 2003
The Hutton Inquiry
September 01, 2003
From James Bone in Montgomery, Alabama
DAVID KELLY had an American woman spiritual mentor who served with him as a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq and later introduced him to the Bahai religion.
The role of Mai Pederson, a US military linguist, in bringing Dr Kelly to the Bahai faith was highlighted by Mrs Marilyn VonBerg, who was secretary of the local Bahai assembly in Monterey, California, when Dr Kelly converted there in 1999.
Mrs VonBerg said Sgt Pederson was very close to Dr Kellys family and had visited them some time before his death. He and Mai were friends because she had taught him the faith. She is high security so we never asked them questions. But I am sure she was his translator at one point. The VonBerg family received a call from Ms Pederson, an Arabic-speaker who holds the rank of senior staff sergeant, to inform them of Dr Kellys apparent suicide on July 17.
All she said is: Dont believe what you read in the newspapers, John VonBerg said. I do not know which direction she was coming from. It's very mysterious to us.
Dr Kellys friendship with Sgt Pederson has not yet figured in the Hutton inquiry, but further details of Dr Kellys faith could surface today when his widow, Janice, who suffers from arthritis, and one of his daughters, Rachel, give evidence.
Sgt Pederson, who moved to the Pentagon after working at the Defence Language Institute in Monterey, left the Washington area after Dr Kellys death for Montgomery, Alabama, where she lives not far from Maxwell Air Force base. She would not comment when contacted through a friend at the weekend.
A US Air Force spokesman in Washington said that she was still listed in the Pentagons internal telephone directory, but that her extension was not working. Her last known telephone number in the Washington suburbs has been reassigned, but records suggest that she bought a house in Fairfax County, Virginia, for $237,000 (£150,000) in 2001.
A source with access to UN records said that Sgt Pederson served under Dr Kelly on a UN mission to Iraq in December 1998, the last inspection before the withdrawal of UN inspectors and the US-led bombing campaign.
According to Bahais records Dr Kelly made his declaration of faith on September 25, 1999, less than a year after the withdrawal of UN weapons inspectors.
They were devoted friends, said Noreen Steinmetz, the current secretary of the Monterey Bahai assembly, who spoke to Sgt Pedersen at the weekend to convey an interview request from The Times.
Mrs VonBerg, a former secretary of the local Bahai spiritual assembly in Monterey, remembers Sgt Pederson bringing Dr Kelly to Bahai meetings before he converted. Her and David would come to the meetings, and he became a Bahai. He was studying the faith, she said.
Mrs VonBerg does not know how the two first met, but, like many other Bahai friends, she assumed that Sgt Pederson helped Dr Kelly to translate from Arabic for his work on Iraq.
She remembers Dr Kelly filing his declaration of faith, marking his conversion to the Bahai religion, with Sgt Pederson: We gave him a book and later he bought one in England and sent over to us a book by a scientist who was a Bahai, and he said the book really helped him to God.
He was a very spiritual person.
Kristin Caldwell, who works at the Bosch Bahai school in Santa Cruz, California, admired the depth of Sgt Pederson's faith.
I lived in Monterey county for over 20 years and she was another Bahai and I truly respected her. I was impressed by somebody who could be so apolitical and still work within the Defence Department.
Daily Telegraph - 24/08/2003
Tony Blair's allies make no great claim for the Prime Minister's mood this weekend. "You can't imagine just how grim this is for everyone here," said one last night, as Mr Blair settled down to prepare for his appearance before the Hutton Inquiry this week.
From the haven of his Barbados holiday home, Mr Blair slipped into Chequers on Friday. For almost a month, he has been shielded from the public gaze, his voice unheard.
Mr Blair will break his silence on Thursday when, taking the witness stand in Court 73 at the Royal Court of Justice at 10.30am, he will confirm his full name. During the ensuing two-and-a-half hours Mr Blair will be cross-examined over his involvement in the circumstances leading to the death of Dr David Kelly, the Ministry of Defence scientist who apparently took his life after being named as the source of BBC claims that the Government inserted "sexed-up" intelligence into its Iraq WMD dossier.
He will be asked for details of what role he played in the construction of that case and whether he pressed the intelligence services to go further than they wished in describing the threat posed by Saddam.
His defence, suggest allies, will be that he restrained, rather than encouraged, those who wanted to use Dr Kelly for political ends when he first came forward. Thereafter, he insisted that the case be handled in the MoD according to "whatever processes were normal". Although he backed every key decision, he will tell Lord Hutton that each was signed off by Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary.
It is a defence, however, that is already buckling under the strain of evidence to the contrary. The cross-examination of Mr Blair's key lieutenants last week revealed how he regularly sought to manipulate events at one remove. It also revealed the extent of the breakdown in trust within Downing Street and between Number 10 and the intelligence services.
It was Jonathan Powell who first broke the news to Mr Blair that the MoD thought that it had unmasked the "mole" who had passed to the BBC damaging information about the preparation of a dossier, published last September, on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.
Mr Blair, who was staying in the Marriott Hotel in Liverpool on the evening of July 3, had called his chief of staff to check on the day's developments in London. He was told an official in the MoD had come forward admitting to meeting Andrew Gilligan, the Today defence correspondent whose story that Downing Street had inserted unreliable material against the wishes of the intelligence service had enraged Number 10.
Mr Blair will, no doubt, be asked what calls he made on the issue that night and the following day. We already know that, by the next day, three of his most senior advisers were huddled in an office plotting what to do.
At 6pm on Friday July 4, Mr Powell was summoned to Sir David Manning's Downing Street room. Inside he found Mr Blair's chief foreign policy adviser with Sir David Omand, the Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator, and John Scarlett, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, the body that advises Mr Blair on intelligence matters and had overseen the compilation of the September dossier.
The quartet were waiting for the MoD to report on what Dr Kelly had admitted about his meeting with Gilligan in an interview that had been arranged by Sir Kevin Tebbit, the MoD permanent secretary. Sir Kevin had, he told the inquiry last week, wanted the interview handled "as coolly as possible, not by people who were themselves caught up in the intense political issues of the moment".
On that Friday those "intense political issues" centred around a report due out the following Monday from the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) which would decide whether Alastair Campbell, Mr Blair's director of communications, or the BBC had won the row over the Gilligan story.
As Mr Blair's most senior aides waited for the outcome of Dr Kelly's interview, they first discussed sending him to the FAC. Meanwhile a letter from Sir Kevin spelling out that the scientist denied being the journalist's source was faxed through. While Dr Kelly admitted meeting Gilligan, he had not, he said, told him anything that could justify the most contentious elements of his story. Sir David Omand immediately faxed the letter to Chequers, where the Prime Minister was spending the weekend.
A crucial aspect of Mr Blair's defence will be that he resisted calls to make public the revelation despite the political ground to be gained in doing so. It was clearly a temptation that Mr Blair thought it wise not to lay in the path of his director of communications. Mr Campbell only found out about the mole's exposure from Mr Hoon on Saturday - two days after the Prime Minister and Mr Powell knew.
On Sunday, July 6, Mr Powell took a second call from Mr Hoon. It provides telling evidence of nature of the relationship between Defence Secretary and Downing Street, making clear that, although Mr Hoon was initially more aggressive, Mr Blair was in control of events from the start.
"(Hoon) said he had been talking to Alastair Campbell and was again concerned that we had not passed on this information to the FAC and that should we reconsider this issue again," Mr Powell told the inquiry last week.
Mr Hoon was minded to be "severe" but he also thought that it might be possible to get a "plea bargain" from the eminent scientist. The chief of staff promised to relay Mr Hoon's views to Mr Blair at Chequers. The Prime Minister was already deep in conversation with Sir David Omand about the case. Both men were reluctant to "go public" until they knew more about what, exactly, Dr Kelly had told the BBC journalist.
Sir David wrote to Sir Kevin, telling him to consider re-interviewing Dr Kelly and to prepare to release his name to the press if it became necessary. "The Prime Minister has asked for a deeper analysis of what the official has actually said, read against the account Gilligan himself has given the FAC," Sir David wrote.
Mr Blair sad there were "too many unknowns for us to approach the FAC now". Nevertheless, if coverage of the FAC report "changes the situation", Mr Blair warned, "we may need to react quickly".
Dr Kelly may have had the impression at the end of his interview on Friday that the episode was at an end. Mr Blair, it is now clear, had other ideas.
As Sir Kevin told the inquiry last week: "I was told by David Omand that the Prime Minister was following this very, very closely indeed, that he was not minded to ask for any precipitate action but the implication was that he wanted something done about it."
On Monday morning Mr Blair was back in Downing Street. Entering his ground-floor study, known to staff as "the den", his first order was to call a meeting of Sir David Omand, Sir Kevin and Mr Scarlett. Mr Blair had to wait a while, however. Mr Campbell had already called Mr Scarlett to meeting of his own.
The director of communications had also called Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, to his office in 12 Downing Street to discuss the response to the FAC report due out that morning.
The Prime Minister, perhaps nonplussed, started without the JIC chairman as soon as Sir David Omand and Sir Kevin arrived. Senior civil servants have told The Telegraph that Mr Blair's decision to call this high-level meeting, the first of a number over the next 48 hours, gives the lie to claims that the MoD was the "lead department" in the handling of the Kelly affair.
It was in this meeting and in a further two the next day that all the key decisions regarding Dr Kelly were taken. Mr Hoon was not present at any time.
No minutes were kept of any of the Downing Street meetings of July 7 and 8 but an official account has been supplied to Lord Hutton, an amalgamation the recollections of those present. Sir David Omand has also supplied his own account of those that he attended.
We know from these accounts that Mr Blair was concerned to find out what Dr Kelly really thought about Saddam's weapons capability and that he wanted a "forensic examination" of Dr Kelly's denial that he was Gilligan's source. Dr Kelly was duly pulled back from a training session in a Norfolk RAF base for a second grilling at 4pm that afternoon. The notes of the interview were then circulated to Mr Blair's most senior aides.
Despite the Prime Minister's instruction that nothing be done without Sir David Omand's permission, it is now clear, thanks to the testimony of Godric Smith, one of Mr Blair's official spokesmen, that Mr Campbell was losing patience with the delay.
As Mr Smith wandered into Mr Campbell's office that evening, he found him on the phone to Mr Hoon. Switching the call to speakerphone so that Mr Smith could hear, the two men discussed leaking the story to a single newspaper that night. Aghast, Mr Smith insisted that he thought the plan was a "bad idea".
The next morning, Mr Blair was due to give evidence at a Commons committee at 10am. As soon as he returned he dismissed his junior staff and again assembled the most senior of his aides to discuss the results of Dr Kelly's second grilling.
Sir David Omand told Mr Blair that Dr Kelly's account of his meeting with Gilligan seemed to suggest that he was indeed the journalist's single source for the story and that he had "heavily embellished" his controversial report.
The questions remained, however, of whether to put this information into the public domain and if so how and when.
In front of Mr Blair lay a draft press release, prepared by the MoD, for use if Dr Kelly's name had had to be rushed out to counter a negative FAC report. In the event, the committee had split on party lines and its conclusions were seen as a "score draw".
As the debate flowed about what to do next, first Mr Powell, then Mr Campbell scribbled their suggested amendments to the draft release. By now it had become a question of how, not if, Dr Kelly would be "outed".
Sir David warned that Number 10 might be asked about what they knew of the Gilligan source by the Intelligence and Security Committee, the body of MPs and peers that oversees the intelligence and security services.
He suggested writing a letter to Ann Taylor MP, its chairman and a former member of the Cabinet, revealing that an official had come forward who may be Gilligan's source. This would also, he pointed out, be a low-key way of making the development public since the Government would make the letter available to the press. Mr Blair agreed on the strategy and Mr Scarlett was told to draft the letter.
An hour later, when Mr Blair was back in "the den", the news came through that Mrs Taylor was refusing to go along with the ruse. If Downing Street wanted this information out, it was up Number 10 to put out a statement, she said.Mr Blair, however, was insistent that any statement should come from the MoD and he and his team returned to work on the draft release.
As they finished the document Sir Kevin arrived to discover that one of his staff was about to be publicly exposed as a mole. In a devastating piece of evidence, the senior civil servant last week came as close as anyone has so far to naming Mr Blair for the decision to "out" Dr Kelly.
Dr Kelly, previously told that it "should not be necessary" to release his name, was informed that a statement was about to made. It would not name him, press officers reassured the scientist. However, as they assured him of their support, under indirect Downing Street orders they were handing out clues to journalists that would lead them to his door. Within 24 hours Dr Kelly's name was public and he was forced to flee to the West Country to avoid the press pack.
Downing Street, meanwhile, was still plotting how best to make best political use of him. Mr Hoon was last week shown to have overruled Sir Kevin when he insisted that Dr Kelly appear before both the FAC and ISC.
The civil servant had urged the Defence Secretary to "have some regard for the man himself", but Mr Hoon replied that it would be better "presentationally" if Dr Kelly was forced to give evidence to the FAC. As reported in The Sunday Telegraph last week Mr Hoon has told colleagues he thinks the publication of that letter will end his Cabinet career.
It became clear this week, however, that he was acting in concert with the Prime Minister's own wishes. On July 10, Mr Powell wrote to Mr Blair's private secretary, Clare Sumner: "Tried PM out on Kelly before the FAC and ISC. He thought that he probably had to do both but need to be properly prepared beforehand." Sir David records that the Prime Minister had earlier said that he thought "in conscience" a request from the FAC to interview Dr Kelly could not be resisted.
The real reason for forcing Dr Kelly to give evidence in public may have slipped out in another email sent within Downing Street on July 10. Just before 3pm Tom Kelly, the second of the Prime Minister's official spokesmen, wrote to Mr Powell: "This has now become a game of chicken with the Beeb - the only way they will shift is if they see the screw tightening."
Mr Blair can expect to be asked whether he saw Dr Kelly as a "player or played with" in this game. And whether he, unlike many of his aides, gave a moment's thought to the consequences for Dr Kelly of his actions.
The decision to "out" Kelly for mainly political purposes may be damaging but it is the slow unravelling of Mr Blair's case for war on Iraq that may in the end prove fatal.
The key BBC claim, that Downing Street inserted the judgement that Saddam could use chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes into the dossier against the wishes of the intelligence agencies, has been shown to be inaccurate. It contains sufficient truth, however, to continue to dog Mr Blair as he takes the stand this Thursday.
When Mr Campbell was asked by the FAC for a list of changes he had asked Mr Scarlett to be made to the dossier, he supplied 11 "plus some drafting points".It emerged this week that one of those points was, indeed, a request to harden claim that the Iraqi military could use WMD in 45 minutes from "may be able" to "are able".
Mr Campbell told Lord Hutton that this was a minor point since the harder claim had already been accepted in the foreword of the document. Under cross-examination, however, Mr Blair's director of communications admitted it was a sufficiently serious request that Mr Scarlett was forced to "check . . . against the raw intelligence and he duly did".
Mr Campbell added: "I had no part in what he wrote ultimately, but I pointed out that inconsistency."
As today's poll in this newspaper reveals, two-thirds of Britons feel that they were "deceived" by the Government in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Mr Blair has a chance to rebut the charge before a judge this week but the jury that matters may have already decided his fate.
By Peter Spiegel and Edward Alden in Washington
Published: August 20 2003
The World Bank has decided to pull its staff out of Iraq after the bomb attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.
Staff at the institution, a key part of the US-led coalition's efforts to rebuild Iraq's economy, would be relocated to Jordan "for security reasons until we are certain the situation has improved", it said.
The bank has also suspended plans to open an office in Baghdad within the next few weeks.
News in-depth: Iraq Click here
East Timor mourns death of 'unique' UN envoy Click here
UN envoy's key role in transition Click here
FBI agents search for clues to bomber's identity Click here
Arabs watch Iraq with mixed feelings Click here
Blast shatters coalition hopes over reconstruction Click here
UN Security Council condemns 'terrorist criminal attack' on headquarters in Iraq Click here
Bush ratings may fall as terror erodes optimism Click here
The decision is the first concrete sign that Tuesday's bombing could hinder the coalition's efforts to rebuild Iraq.
Some countries considering sending troops to Iraq, such as India and Pakistan, were finding pressure building against such deployments, foreign officials said on Wednesday.
Governments in several countries approached by the US to send troops have sought a UN resolution authorising deployments. But some US officials think these are delaying tactics as potential participants assess the security situation.
The US sought to play down the impact of Tuesday's attack on security in Iraq.
"The security problem now has got a terrorist dimension, which is new, but the rest of the security is basically in better shape than it was three months ago," Paul Bremer, the US administrator, told CBS. "It is true that we're taking some casualties among the coalition forces, but that's largely coming from a small group of bitter-enders."
Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general, also sought to present a determined front, saying the UN would continue its work in Iraq despite the loss of several of its staff in the explosion, including Sérgio Vieira de Mello, its top representative there. "We will not be intimidated," he said.
The World Bank decision means that 15 staff working on assessing the needs of Iraqis in preparation for an October international donors' conference will be removed indefinitely.
The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday that all six of its employees in Baghdad had been wounded in the attack, but that it had made no decision on a longer-term pull-out.
The US treasury department said it had been assured by both the World Bank and IMF that they were still committed to the reconstruction. "Their commitment is unwavering," said a treasury official.
The bombing could have a severe impact on General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's pro-US military ruler, who is seeking a parliamentary vote on whether to send about 12,000 troops to Iraq following a request by the US.
Pakistani officials said the decision to refer the matter to parliament, rather than simply order peacekeepers in, was a shift for Gen Musharraf, who faces growing pressure to rebuff US requests.
However, Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, remains committed to pushing approval for a peacekeeping force of up to 30,000 troops through parliament.
Additional reporting by Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad, Metin Munir in Istanbul and Edward Luce in New Delhi
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/MAT308A.html
Experts will discuss nuke policy, new threats at Neb. base
by Jake Thompson
Omaha Herald, 1 August 2003
A meeting involving 150 experts next week at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska will be the most significant examination of America's nuclear weapons capabilities since a similar event was held at Offutt in 1995, a Defense Department spokesman said Wednesday.
Maj. Michael Shavers said the Aug. 7 meeting hosted by the Strategic Command will be "fairly broad and wide-ranging," but he declined to say directly whether the topic of mini- nuclear weapons will be on the table. Mini-nukes could be used to destroy targets such as reinforced bunkers holding chemical or biological weapons with less damage to surrounding areas, administration officials and government scientists have said. The meeting, he said, will examine the nation's nuclear weapons systems and the role they should play in the future to serve as a nuclear deterrent to potential adversaries.
A former national security analyst on Capitol Hill called the meeting a responsible response to new threats that confront the United States, particularly worthy in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"We have an arsenal that was to deter the Soviet Union. Now we need to figure out who we need to deter and what you need to do that," said Celeste Ward Johnson, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies think tank. "The Cold War has been over now a long time, yet our forces still reflect a Cold War mission."
A focus of the StratCom conference will be what is called the Stockpile Stewardship Program, a system adopted in the 1990s to use nonnuclear experiments, computer modeling and other measures to check the viability of the nation's nuclear weapons without actual testing. The last nuclear tests by the United States were done more than a decade ago.
In the Moscow Treaty signed by President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2002, the United States committed to reducing its nuclear weapons stockpile by 2012.
With increased reliance on a smaller number of nukes and a new focus on their offensive and defensive uses, the conference aims to take stock of the stewardship program's ability to ensure safe and reliable nuclear weapons as a deterrent to attack, Shavers said. Lawrence Korb, a former Reagan administration defense official now at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, said the meeting is "very important" given a big debate in Congress and within the Bush administration about the role of America's aging nuclear arsenal and whether to develop a new generation of mini-nukes.
The mini-nukes debate is particularly dicey, Korb said, because the United States has held a moral high ground by not setting off nuclear tests. Other nations such as India and Pakistan have earned sharp criticism from the world community for testing nuclear weapons. If the United States seeks to build a new generation of weapons, that could lead to new tests. "If you test again on developing new nuclear weapons, there goes the whole nonproliferation effort," Korb said.
Among those attending the Offutt meeting, Shavers said, will be officials from the Defense Department, the Department of Energy, StratCom, senior military officers, civilians from the National Nuclear Security Administration, the State Department and the National Security Agency, and representatives from the nation's nuclear laboratories, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore.
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/MAT308A.html
Scotland on Sunday August 3, 2003
FOR the past decade they have travelled the world, haranguing its leaders about the effects of globalisation, campaigning for "fair trade" and chanting about the dangers of climate change. But in Nebraska this week, demonstrators will gather outside an orange brick building where they will rally to the cause of an old favourite - fighting the nuclear bomb. The marchers will mass outside the headquarters of the American Strategic Air Command, where a meeting of Bush administration officials and nuclear scientists is to discuss plans to build a new generation of nuclear weapons and to resume nuclear testing. Among those who will address the protest will be four survivors of the Hiroshima bomb.
The protesters say the administration's plans will wreck treaties that limit the development and spread of nuclear weapons and give the green light to other countries to re-start nuclear weapons programmes.
The meeting of the US government's 'Future Arsenal Panel' at Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha, was supposed to be secret. But details were leaked to the Los Alamos Study Group, which monitors nuclear research at America's nuclear weapons laboratories.
The Pentagon has confirmed the meeting will be attended by its own officials, representatives from the National Nuclear Security Administration, scientists from America's two main nuclear laboratories and other nuclear experts. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is not expected to attend. It adds only that the purpose is "to discuss issues regarding the current status and future projections concerning the US nuclear arsenal". But the agenda reveals more. The administration is considering developing a generation of small nuclear weapons, known as mini-nukes. They include nuclear 'bunker busters' - heavy, missile-like bombs with hardened noses that penetrate the ground before exploding.
Such weapons already exist, but armed only with conventional explosives. To the embarrassment of the White House, the most powerful conventional bunker buster ordnance in the US inventory failed to kill al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in the caves of Afghanistan's Tora Bora, from which they later emerged and escaped. The same type of weapon was also dropped on Baghdad in attempts to kill the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
The nuclear bunker busters would be thousands of times more powerful than the conventional type. A nuclear penetrator would be built in the shape of a thin cylinder with a pointed nose. Dropped from an aircraft, its weight and speed would enable it to smash through the surface of the ground or puncture rock or concrete. It would bury itself 20ft to 30ft before exploding. The power of the explosion would 'couple' with the earth to send shock waves down towards underground targets.
Indications that the Bush administration wants to start building nuclear weapons again after a lengthy pause surfaced last year when it produced a Nuclear Posture Review, the first comprehensive analysis of nuclear weapons strategy for 10 years, in which it argued for the right to use nuclear weapons first against non- nuclear states, breaking a taboo that existed throughout the Cold War. Among situations discussed in which the United States would engage in a first use of nuclear weapons, were "a North Korean attack on South Korea, or military confrontation over the status of Taiwan".
The review also argued for developing mini-nukes to support such a strategy. It was coupled with a request to Congress for dollars 70m to study new types of nuclear weapons. The administration argues that America's nuclear arsenal is still made up of Cold War nuclear weapons that were designed to attack the Soviet Union. These are being drastically reduced in number, from some 11,000 warheads at the height of the Cold War to around 6,000 today, and between 1,700 and 2,200 in 10 years. But the threat - particularly since September 11, 2001 - is now from 'rogue' nations such as North Korea, Iran and Libya, which require different kinds of US nuclear weapons from those developed to threaten entire cities.
President George W Bush wants his armed forces to be equipped with smaller, more accurate weapons for hitting elaborate bunkers hundreds of feet underground where leaders of 'rogue' states can now survive an attack by the biggest conventional weapons that US forces can throw at them. Special forces or laser-guided conventional bombs could cut off a bunker's power supplies, ventilation and exits. But the only way to destroy a bunker directly is by creating powerful shock waves that travel through the ground, US defence intelligence officials say.
At the top of the bunker hit list is North Korea, despite the news last week that it has agreed to multilateral talks, which will include the Americans. The North Koreans have developed advanced tunnelling equipment and improved building materials that allow them to dig deeper, more quickly and more stealthily. They can make their bunkers stronger and put them in places where US surveillance has more difficulty in finding them. "Without having the ability to hold those targets at risk, we essentially provide sanctuary," J D Crouch, an assistant secretary of defence, said earlier this year.
US officials also say that the vaporising blast of a nuclear bomb might be the only way to destroy an enemy's chemical or biological weapons. General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says nuclear weapons could be crucial tools for destroying such weapons without causing widespread loss of life. "Gamma rays can destroy anthrax spores, which is something we need to look at. And the heat of a nuclear blast can destroy chemical compounds and make them not develop the plume that would drift and bring others in harm's way."
In addition to bunker busters, other new options under consideration are 'battlefield' nuclear weapons with small yields that can be used by troops, and bombs that emit high levels of radiation but less heat and blast, and so would kill people but leave buildings intact. In another controversial move, the Bush administration is considering resuming nuclear testing, to try out the proposed new designs. Although Congress refused to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Bush administration has until now followed the Clinton administration in honouring its terms and the US has not tested a nuclear weapon since 1993.
But the Bush administration has already approved the resumption of the production of plutonium parts for new nuclear weapons. It has also launched a preliminary design competition between Los Alamos and the other major US nuclear weapons laboratory, Lawrence Livermore, to design a thermonuclear bunker-buster. These moves have sparked rising concern among the arms control community as well as re-activating the anti- nuclear protest movement.
Opponents argue that the new mini-nukes will blur the distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons because their explosive power is smaller, making it easier to take a political decision to use them. They also argue that, if the US reneges on the test ban treaty, countries such as China, Pakistan and India will also start testing again, increasing the risk of a regional nuclear war.
Countries that have signed the non-proliferation treaty, pledging not to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for self-imposed restraint by the nuclear powers, may also be tempted to try to join the nuclear club, the protesters say. "It is impossible to overstate the challenge these plans pose to the comprehensive test ban moratorium, and US compliance with the non -proliferation treaty," said Greg Mello, head of the Los Alamos group. "This administration doesn't believe in treaties or the rule of law."
David Culp, of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, an American Quaker lobby group, said: "If we resume testing, you will see the Russians resume testing. It is no secret that there are hawks in Russia, just like there are in the United States, and for many years people in their military and in their weapons laboratories have been arguing that Russia needs to develop a new small tactical nuclear weapon that would be deployed in Eastern Europe, primarily along the Belarus-Polish border."
Critics also doubt that the nuclear bunker-busters would be able to burrow deep enough before exploding to contain the fallout they would create. Sidney Drell, a Stanford University physicist, has calculated that destroying a target dug 1,000ft into rock would require a nuclear weapon with a yield of 100 kilotons -- more than six times that of the Hiroshima bomb. The explosion of a nuclear bomb of that size would launch enormous amounts of radioactive debris into the air and contaminate a huge area, he says. And, to contain fallout from a one kiloton bomb, the warhead would have to penetrate an estimated 220ft - many times the depth achievable by any current earth -penetrator warhead.
The political fallout from the new Bush doctrine is not confined to the anti - nuclear fringe. A number of leading Democrats have also come out against it. California senator Diane Feinstein said: "This administration seems to be moving toward a military posture in which nuclear weapons are considered just like other weapons. Their purpose is not simply to serve as a deterrent but they would be a usable instrument of military power, like a tank, a fighter aircraft, or a cruise missile. "The effect of such a development could well be to legitimise the production of these new nuclear bombs by other countries and make them that much more likely to fall into the hands of enemy states or terrorist groups."
This week's meeting takes place against the background of a struggle in Congress. For 10 years all research on weapons with a payload of less than five kilotons has been banned under the Spratt-Furse Agreement. Earlier this year the Senate voted to end the ban, provided the Pentagon and Department of Energy sought authorisation from Congress before researching development of low-yield nuclear weapons. But the House of Representatives voted to keep it. The two sides are expected to try to settle their differences in a House -Senate conference committee this month.
A bill before Congress would provide dollars 15million for research and testing of the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, dollars 6million to research other advanced nuclear concepts and dollars 25million to resume the nuclear testing programme.
Officials of the National Nuclear Security Administration, a branch of the US Department of Energy responsible for the US nuclear weapons industry, say that one reason for this week's meeting is 'stockpile stewardship', making sure the US nuclear arsenal is in working order. Since the test ban was introduced, the US has tested its weapons using computer simulation. "We have no requirements for new nuclear warheads, and we are not developing nuclear warheads," said John Harvey, NNSA's director of policy planning. "That said, part of our responsibility is to understand what the options are."
Meanwhile, after spreading the word via the activists' website, protest.net, the anti- nuclear demonstrators have begun to gather in Omaha for what they describe as an "international event full of activities, including educationals/workshops, a commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a rally, peace concert and a march".
It could feel like 1980 all over again.
Tuesday July 29, 2003
The Philippine president yesterday promised two independent inquiries in the wake of an unsuccessful mutiny 24 hours earlier by hundreds of junior soldiers, sparked by alleged rampant government corruption.
Delivering her hastily rewritten state of the nation address to congress, Gloria Arroyo said one inquiry would look into the mutineers' claim that the government had staged terrorist attacks to win sympathy in its war on terror and that the military was selling arms to insurgents in the southern islands.
The other investigation will examine who was behind a recent attack in Davao City, on the island of Mindanao.
Hours earlier the police arrested a cabinet minister in the government of Ms Arroyo's predecessor, Joseph Estrada, in connection with Sunday's seizure of an upmarket shopping centre and block of flats by 300 disgruntled soldiers and sailors.
Automatic weapons, ammunition and paraphernalia similar to that used by the rebels were found at the home of Ramon Cardenas. Officials said rebels were seen leaving Mr Cardenas's house on Saturday evening.
Several others were questioned, including one of Mr Estrada's former mistresses.
Ms Arroyo described the rebellion as an "ill-conceived mutiny carried out by misguided military officers". But she added that it signalled "an underlying problem that we must address".
The inquiries would "investigate the roots of the mutiny and the provocation that inspired it", she said.
As soon as Thames Valley Police announced they were not looking for anybody else involved in the death of Dr David Kelly all the mainstream media came onside with that view. Since then the death has been reported as a "suicide" or an "apparent suicide". Could it be a murder made to look like suicide? No one asked. There are very few facts from the scene of the crime to offer convincing evidence either way, but I suggest there is an empirical case that Kelly died at the hands of a state sponsored assassin immune from the law (and the enquiring nature of the media) because his her or their actions were sanctioned at the very highest level.
We all know that from time to time the state has to break it's own laws to do it's business, but most of us happily believe that any infringement of the rules is justified and thus stops well short of murder. That concept is too much to swallow in a democracy. And so when the state says Dr Kelly's death was a suicide human instinct forces us to breathe a sigh of relief, our safe little world remains unchallenged even if it is untrue it is worth believing in.
OK, even if you don't buy any conspiracy theory place yourself in the don't know camp and read on.
The police are not an information service. Usually results of all police enquiries are embargoed until they can be presented to a court. Occasionally they release titbits to encourage witnesses to come forward. (In a murder they always hold something back so that knowledge of specific gruesome details of the crime will be shared between themselves and the murderer and to catch out false confessions.) The Kelly death is different. The police have done their investigating they have formed their view and they have announced their view. That is all. There has not yet been a coroner's inquest to actually give an official view yet all the newspapers have taken their cue and gone to press on what at the time of writing (23/07/2003) is nothing more than opinion of unnamed bureaucrats.
Let's consider the story so far. Outside of the arcane world of civil service microbiologists no one had ever heard of Dr. David Kelly until a week or two ago. He was an arms inspector and it turns out a mole whom we now learn released information to the BBC that the British Government's case for going to war against Iraq earlier this year was at best embellished. Dr Kelly only came to public attention on 15th July when he gave evidence before the parliamentary foreign affairs select committee, subsequently he was called before the parliamentary Security and Intelligence Committee. Before that could happen he was found dead on an Oxfordshire hillside.
Any conspiracy theory minded copy is simply drowned out by other issues dominating this macabre affair. "Who let on that Kelly was the mole?" is a game currently being played out between Downing Street and the BBC. Who cares, I say. The fact that various branches of the state are at odds over such minutiae is unremarkable, yet to the broadsheet newspapers this row is the issue, certainly not how Kelly met his death and why.
Suspicious? You should be.
Perhaps it is so much easier to accept the orthodox view over the conspiracy theory because the notion of sharing Dr Kelly's thoughts is too much for most of us to bear. Kelly had some awful things going on his head he was an expert in biological warfare after all. Whatever he knew there were others in government circles who didn't want him to share that knowledge. Bumping him off would have been a sure fire way of preventing him speaking and doing any more damage to the MOD's cause. If he died by his own hand then it proves he had a tortured mind, murder on the other hand proves a cover up. Whatever the truth of the matter it is grim. There was something going on in Kelly's head that led to his death could be said to be a fact. It is human nature to take our views from the wise and the informed but when that extends to political reasoning the subject can consider himself fully brainwashed.
Julian Borger reports on the shadow rightwing intelligence network set up in Washington to second- guess the CIA and deliver a justification for toppling Saddam Hussein by force
Thursday July 17, 2003
As the CIA director, George Tenet, arrived at the Senate yesterday to give secret testimony on the Niger uranium affair, it was becoming increasingly clear in Washington that the scandal was only a small, well-documented symptom of a complete breakdown in US intelligence that helped steer America into war.
It represents the Bush administration's second catastrophic intelligence failure. But the CIA and FBI's inability to prevent the September 11 attacks was largely due to internal institutional weaknesses.
This time the implications are far more damaging for the White House, which stands accused of politicising and contaminating its own source of intelligence.
According to former Bush officials, all defence and intelligence sources, senior administration figures created a shadow agency of Pentagon analysts staffed mainly by ideological amateurs to compete with the CIA and its military counterpart, the Defence Intelligence Agency.
The agency, called the Office of Special Plans (OSP), was set up by the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to second-guess CIA information and operated under the patronage of hardline conservatives in the top rungs of the administration, the Pentagon and at the White House, including Vice-President Dick Cheney.
The ideologically driven network functioned like a shadow government, much of it off the official payroll and beyond congressional oversight. But it proved powerful enough to prevail in a struggle with the State Department and the CIA by establishing a justification for war.
Mr Tenet has officially taken responsibility for the president's unsubstantiated claim in January that Saddam Hussein's regime had been trying to buy uranium in Africa, but he also said his agency was under pressure to justify a war that the administration had already decided on.
How much Mr Tenet reveals of where that pressure was coming from could have lasting political fallout for Mr Bush and his re- election prospects, which only a few weeks ago seemed impregnable. As more Americans die in Iraq and the reasons for the war are revealed, his victory in 2004 no longer looks like a foregone conclusion.
The White House counter-attacked yesterday when new chief spokesman, Scott McClellan, accused critics of "politicising the war" and trying to "rewrite history". But the Democratic leadership kept up its questions over the White House role.
The president's most trusted adviser, Mr Cheney, was at the shadow network's sharp end. He made several trips to the CIA in Langley, Virginia, to demand a more "forward-leaning" interpretation of the threat posed by Saddam. When he was not there to make his influence felt, his chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was. Such hands-on involvement in the processing of intelligence data was unprecedented for a vice- president in recent times, and it put pressure on CIA officials to come up with the appropriate results.
Another frequent visitor was Newt Gingrich, the former Republican party leader who resurfaced after September 11 as a Pentagon "consultant" and a member of its unpaid defence advisory board, with influence far beyond his official title.
An intelligence official confirmed Mr Gingrich made "a couple of visits" but said there was nothing unusual about that.
Rick Tyler, Mr Gingrich's spokesman, said: "If he was at the CIA he was there to listen and learn, not to persuade or influence."
Mr Gingrich visited Langley three times before the war, and according to accounts, the political veteran sought to browbeat analysts into toughening up their assessments of Saddam's menace.
Mr Gingrich gained access to the CIA headquarters and was listened to because he was seen as a personal emissary of the Pentagon and, in particular, of the OSP.
In the days after September 11, Mr Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, mounted an attempt to include Iraq in the war against terror. When the established agencies came up with nothing concrete to link Iraq and al-Qaida, the OSP was given the task of looking more carefully.
William Luti, a former navy officer and ex-aide to Mr Cheney, runs the day-to-day operations, answering to Douglas Feith, a defence undersecretary and a former Reagan official.
The OSP had access to a huge amount of raw intelligence. It came in part from "report officers" in the CIA's directorate of operations whose job is to sift through reports from agents around the world, filtering out the unsubstantiated and the incredible. Under pressure from the hawks such as Mr Cheney and Mr Gingrich, those officers became reluctant to discard anything, no matter how far-fetched. The OSP also sucked in countless tips from the Iraqi National Congress and other opposition groups, which were viewed with far more scepticism by the CIA and the state department.
There was a mountain of documentation to look through and not much time. The administration wanted to use the momentum gained in Afghanistan to deal with Iraq once and for all. The OSP itself had less than 10 full-time staff, so to help deal with the load, the office hired scores of temporary "consultants". They included lawyers, congressional staffers, and policy wonks from the numerous rightwing thinktanks in Washington. Few had experience in intelligence.
"Most of the people they had in that office were off the books, on personal services contracts. At one time, there were over 100 of them," said an intelligence source. The contracts allow a department to hire individuals, without specifying a job description.
As John Pike, a defence analyst at the thinktank GlobalSecurity.org, put it, the contracts "are basically a way they could pack the room with their little friends".
Published on Monday, July 14, 2003 by the Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/ (Australia)
by Malcolm Knox
Private Jessica Lynch has amnesia. The soldier, now reportedly in hospital, can bear witness neither to what happened nor what didn't.
Lynch remains the governing metaphor for the war, which, like her, is less a substance than an absence, a portrait drawn in silhouette. Just as Lynch is colored around by what did not happen to her on April Fool's Day, what is not happening in Iraq is growing clearer by the day.
On April 4 The Washington Post reported that Lynch was rescued from the Saddam Hospital in Nasiriyah by "navy special operations forces, or Seals, extract[ing] Private Lynch while under fire". In fact, there were no Iraqi soldiers in or near the hospital.
It was reported on April 6 that after being ambushed, Lynch "fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldiers, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition despite having sustained multiple gunshot wounds".
Rather than being ambushed, it has now emerged that Lynch's convoy leader misread his orders and drove into Nasiriyah past waving Iraqis. Realizing his error, he tried to turn the 13-vehicle convoy around but they ran out of petrol, or collided with each other, or broke down, or got stuck. It's unclear whether Lynch fired her weapon or, like others in her convoy, her gun jammed due to poor maintenance.
[Lest this imply that the leader, Captain Troy Kent King, blundered, that too is not the case. According to the military investigation, King did nothing blameworthy, but committed a "navigational error caused by the combined effects of the operational pace, acute fatigue, isolation and harsh environmental conditions".]
This newspaper's Miranda Devine, reporting from Sydney, described the Lynch rescue as "the feel-good story of the war", but said it was being hijacked by "feminists": "It is inevitable that Jessica Lynch will be immortalized as the invincible female warrior princess, her heroics exaggerated for feminist propaganda. The ramifications for all women are profound."
By the time she comes to, Lynch's world will have changed, then changed back again. What has not changed, however, is her status as the human symbol of what the war on Iraq was not.
It was not a war to disarm Saddam Hussein of the weapons of mass destruction he did not have, or the "enriched uranium" he did not buy. It was not a war to remove the "45-minute" danger Iraq did not pose. Nor was it a war to disable an elite Republican Guard which was, in fact, a poker party of old men manning sandbags with rusty rifles, and tank drivers who cheerfully drove into the B-52s' crosshairs. It was not a war to bring democracy to Iraq, for a democratic expression of a majority Iraqi will is precisely what the occupiers will not allow.
Nor, of course, was Saddam the tactical genius he (or we) pretended he was. Had Saddam been a coach in the National Rugby League, he would also have been out of a job by April. He certainly wasn't a leader with 100 per cent electoral approval, as he claimed, but then in a free election he'd still likely have won more votes than the 24 per cent of Americans who voted for George Bush.
[A note on the difference between Saddam democracy and American democracy: in the former, people are forced to give their consent by voting for the one available candidate; in the latter, people are liberated to give their consent by not voting for anyone.]
Most potently, the war isn't a "was", but an "is". It's here now, in the present. The fact that it's no longer being broadcast live on Fox News only makes it feel more real then when it was.
Meanwhile, Private Ryan - sorry, Lynch - will become a hero of a telemovie that tells her story as it could, perhaps should, have happened. When the telemovie is screened, Lynch's amnesia will be relieved and she can become, at last, what Michael Moore might have predicted as her destiny: a fictitious character rescued fictitiously from a fictitious war to which she had been sent by a fictitious president, as seen by an audience who can't remember.
By Stephen Walker
04 July 2003
A series of recent newspaper and e-zine articles on the Bush White House reveals an intricate web of conflicts of interest involving senior Administration officials, major US corporations, Conservative think-tanks linked to Israel's Likud Party, and now possibly Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.
On March 27, Richard Perle, the Chairman of the secretive Defense Policy Board, an appointed advisory committee to the Pentagon, resigned from his position following accusations of conflict of interest. Perle, the influential leader of the Reaganite neo-conservative movement currently in vogue in the White House, was alleged to have been paid $500,000 by the bankrupt communications company Global Crossing to lobby his friend and ally Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense into granting approval for its takeover by a Chinese company. While no longer Chairman, Perle remains a board member, and this has prompted a public examination of the business connections of the other 29 members of the board, the roll of which reads like a who's who of former US statesmen and military leaders. The respected US independent public affairs watchdog Center for Public Integrity named several of the best-connected Committee members:
Marine General Jack Sheehan (ret.) Former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and adviser to the Defense Department, is now a vice-president and partner at Bechtel Corporation, a major construction and defense engineering company. Bechtel had military contracts worth $1 billion in 2002, and has just been awarded reconstruction contracts in Iraq initially worth $680 million. Former Reagan Administration Secretary of State George Shultz, another Bechtel board member, also sits on the Committee. Bechtel is alleged to have a long history of involvement with Iraq, dating back to the Reagan Administration in the 1980's when, it was recently revealed in Counterpunch magazine, Donald Rumsfeld lobbied Saddam Hussein, on behalf of the US Government. Officially, Rumsfeld, then boss of the pharmaceutical giant Searle, was sent by Shultz as a 'peace envoy' to Iraq, but in reality he attempted to negotiate a $1 billion oil pipeline construction contract for Bechtel. In political exile during the Clinton years, Shultz was CEO of Texan oilfield developers Halliburton, which was initially named by the Pentagon as the contractor to secure and redevelop Iraq's oilfields. Only after public outcry in the US and claims of conflict of interest, did Halliburton accept a lower profile but no less lucrative position as a subcontractor.
Air Force General Ronald Fogleman (retired), former military advisor to the Defense Department, the National Security Council and the President, is a board member of several defense companies that received almost $1 billion in contracts in 2002, including Rolls-Royce North America and North American Airlines, and is also a Committee member. Sois Admiral David Jeremiah (retired) former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who now directs or advises companies that received more than $10 billion in defense contracts in 2002. At least five more Committee members have either board positions on defense contractors, or are employed by them as lobbyists. Other Committee members include Bush Senior's Vice President Dan Quayle and Nixon's former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Perle's close friend and fellow neo-conservative ideologue Doug Feith is the Under-Secretary for Defense Policy (a position formerly held by Perle himself under Ronald Reagan), and appoints the members of the Committee, overseen by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.
At first glance, much of this appears to be simply 'jobs for the boys', appointing old Republican hacks to unpaid positions of influence, which can then be peddled off to the vast US industrial-military complex, and perhaps it is. But Richard Perle is also the acknowledged head of a hugely influential network of so-called neo-conservatives who dominate the Second Bush Administration. Next below Perle is Donald Rumsfeld's Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis (Scooter) Libby, and the editor of the News Corp-owned, neo-conservative mouthpiece, the Weekly Standard, William Krystol. These men, along with former Bush Senior's Vice President Dan Quayle, Florida Governor and George W's brother Jeb Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, are all signatories of a Statement of Principles for a shadowy organization known as The Project for the New American Century. This group hearkens back to the happy days of the Reagan Administration, when, like now, the US frequently saw fit to act as it wished, and against whom it chose to, without regard to legal standards (Iran-Contra, Guatemala, El Salvador, etc). It maintains that the US must strive to remain the world's only, unchallenged superpower, that the US has the right to pre- emptively strike against any state that threatens it, and that the United Nations and international law are irrelevant.
The neo-conservatives, as well as being politically connected, influence the US and even global media through a network of conservative 'think-tanks', well documented by Brian Whitaker of the Guardian newspaper. Our linkman, Richard Perle, writes under the auspices of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), as well as the Hudson Institute, as does Memran Wurmser, who also works for the Israeli lobby organization The Middle East Institute. Memran's husband and AEI analyst David Wurmser, along with Doug Feith and Perle, wrote a report for Israel's Likud party in 1996, calling for an end to negotiations with the Palestinians, a policy of pre-emption, and removing Saddam Hussein from power. Perle, like many of his fellow neo-cons, makes no secret of his support for rightwing Israeli political interests, and is a member of the board of the Jerusalem Post. Fellow AEI analyst Michael Rubin is also a member of the Middle East Forum, which numbers New York Times journalist Judith Miller and Weekly Standard editor William Krystol among its stalwarts.
Whitaker stated in his article that representatives of these 'think tanks' had been almost exclusively quoted in the US mainstream print and digital media in regard to American foreign policy, in the months leading up to the war on Iraq, to the almost total exclusion of genuine university academics. He pointed out that in the US media, the monopolization of expert opinion by these neo-conservative organizations gave the American public an almost totally one-sided view of the Bush Administration's policies on the so-called 'war on terrorism', and the later invasion of Iraq.
The final, and possibly the most important link in this chain is Rupert Murdoch. His strong support for the Bush Administration helped him gain approval by US regulators of his purchase of DirecTV in the United States, and subsequent changes to media ownership laws. Murdoch owns 175 major newspapers internationally, including the aforementioned neo-conservative mouthpiece Weekly Standard in Washington, the tabloid New York Post Britain's trashy Sun, and the more staid Times. The Guardian's
Roy Greenslade pointed out that despite so-called editorial independence, all of these newspapers, which virtually dominate the media in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, gave unquestioning support for the war against Iraq. In the case of the tabloids like the Sun in the UK, and the Daily Telegraph in Australia, the war coverage was delivered in a sensationalist, jingoistic fashion not seen since the Falklands War. Even the mainstream Murdoch broadsheets such as the Times and the Australian, as well as the regional Australian papers like the Advertiser and the Courier-Mail, presented a version of the Iraq war heavily slanted towards the American view, regardless of prevailing opinion.
As well as being the proprietor of the sport monopoly channel BskyB in the UK, Murdoch owns the lightweight Fox News cable channel in the US. This national satellite and cable broadcaster challenged and then eclipsed traditional news leader CNN in domestic US coverage of the Iraq War. Fox News delivered brash, one-sided coverage of the conflict, winning Bush even more gratitude from the White House than for its partisan coverage of the Bush side of the Florida debacle, during the US 2001 presidential elections. It seemed almost inevitable that Murdoch would gain the approval of the Federal Communications Commission, led by Secretary of State Colin Powell's son Michael, in his bid to gain control of DirecTV. This move had been criticized by many in the industry, who claimed that it would give Murdoch more power to dictate content to other Cable TV providers. On June 2, the Commission voted to allow media owners to increase their share of the US television and newspaper market from 35% to 45% of nationwide coverage, which now allows Murdoch to buy up smaller regional US newspapers and television stations. This, as the Independent's Andrew Gumbel pointed out, is good news if you are George W. Bush, eyeing up an election next year, with Murdoch as cheerleader, though not so good for US media diversity. Now that the Australian Federal Government once again has media deregulation in its sights, Prime Minister John Howard can almost certainly bet on Murdoch's support for his next election campaign, in exchange for a favorable outcome for News Corporation.
Taken individually, all of these instances of coincidental conflict of interests among the Bush Administration's supporters might seem to be nothing unusual, or could be dismissed as just Bush rewarding his friends with positions of responsibility in the government. However, if viewed together, the labyrinthine connections between the White House, major defense corporations, a rather sinister rightwing movement, and a media mogul paints a picture of collusion, kickbacks, manipulation of the media, and downright corruption. What remains to be seen is whether the US or international media are paying any attention, or whether they are too dazzled by the White House's stirring rhetoric to notice.
Copyright © 2003 by the News Insider and Stephen Walker
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
03 July 2003
The Bush administration has underlined its refusal to co- operate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) by suspending military aid worth almost $50m(£30m) to 35 countries that have refused to promise not to prosecute American citizens. Its behaviour was condemned as that of "schoolyard bullies".
A further 43 countries have entered into impunity agreements with the US, which guarantee that US nationals can never brought up on human rights charges by the ICC while in those countries.
The State Department said yesterday that the 35 countries had failed to reach a 1 July deadline to provide the US with assurances that no American soldiers or military personnel would be charged and tried by the new court, for war crime offences allegedly carried out on their territory.
Washington says that the tribunal leaves American troops, deployed in 140 countries around the world, vulnerable to knowingly false and politically motivated prosecutions.
The cut in military aid could have serious consequences. For example, Colombia will lose money used to crack down on drug dealers. While about $5m of the $600m in this year's aid package is at risk, the effect could be more serious next year.
Martha Lucia Ramirez, Colombia's Defence Minister, said the countries were looking for a way to ensure the aid was not lost. "The honeymoon between the government of President Alvaro Uribe and President George Bush will continue for a long time because it is based on the conviction that there is no worse enemy for our people than terrorism," she said.
"The Colombian government is open to understanding the proposal of the United States, and to help find a solution without going against our principles or breaking the Colombian law."
The treaty establishing the ICC, which formally started work last year, was signed by the former president Bill Clinton in 1998. But he was unable to persuade Congress to ratify it. President Bush later rescinded the support of the US.
A report by Amnesty International showed that some of the 43 countries which gave in to American demands, including Bolivia and Afghanistan, were reliant on America for their military aid while others, such as Tonga, were dependent on trade with the US.
Ari Fleischer, President Bush's spokesman, said that the US decision was designed to protect American troops. He said: "These are the people who are able to deliver assistance to the various states around the world, and if delivering aid endangers America's servicemen and servicewomen, the President's first priority is with the servicemen and servicewomen."
But others believe the US is using its military and financial might to bully smaller countries. Human Rights Watch has accused US officials of engaging in a worldwide campaign to press smaller countries into compliance. Richard Dicker, one of the organisation's directors, said: "US ambassadors have been acting like schoolyard bullies."
The Irish Examiner 28 Jun 2003
by Sue B O'Reilly
NORTH KOREA said yesterday the proposed realignment of US forces in South Korea was a prelude to Washington's plan to launch nuclear war against the communist country. The statement came as US Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker stepped up pressure on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear arms programme, warning "sooner or later patience expires."
"The threat from North Korea is grave indeed," Baker said in a speech at a Tokyo hotel. "Their threat to world peace is grave. Their threat to Japan is more immediate.
"I wonder if the North Korean government understands what a deadly serious game they are playing."
The international community, led by the US, Japan, South Korea and China, has been "remarkably patient" in dealing with the North Korean nuclear row, Baker said.
"(But) sooner or later patience expires," he warned.
"No options are off the table. Give up your nuclear ambition. Subject yourself to international inspection. Rejoin the international institutions that safeguard nuclear matters. Do these things."
Rodong Sinmun, Pyongyang's ruling party newspaper, said the US plan to relocate American troops away from the heavily fortified inter- Korean border is a strategic move to evade North Korea's heavy artillery retaliation in the event of war.
"The redeployment of the US forces in South Korea is a very dangerous military measure prompted by the US imperialist attempt to use nukes in the second Korean war," Rodong said in a statement.
Pyongyang has hundreds of artillery pieces deployed close to the border that can easily strike the South Korea capital, Seoul. The planned redeployment would take US troops out of range of North Korean guns.
"It is the view of US military strategists that when a war starts in Korea, Seoul and areas north of it will turn into a sea of fire in a matter of a few days due to North Korea's strong
artillery fire power and none of the US troops within its firing range will be able to survive," it said.
"That's why they are now craftily working to prevent disastrous consequences through the redeployment of the US forces before the outbreak of a war."
North Korea, which has been locked in a standoff with the United States since October over its nuclear ambitions, has claimed Washington is preparing a war against the communist country.
South Korean Defence Minister Cho Young-Kil was set to meet with his US counterpart Donald Rumsfeld in Washington yesterday to discuss how to reposition 37,000 US troops in South Korea.
The US and South Korea agreed in early June to gradually reposition US forces, notably 15,000 American soldiers assigned to the US 2nd Infantry Division, away from the inter-Korean border. The United States also plans to relocate its main garrison at Yongsan, central Seoul.
The US forces have been deployed as a trip wire along the border between North and South since the 1950- 1953 Korean War, ensuring an invasion from the North would immediately draw the US into the conflict.
Washington argues that the trip wire analogy is outdated.
Jun 26 2003
FOUR military police were executed in cold blood in Iraq with their own weapons after surrendering, it was feared last night.
Their helmets were removed and they were shot at least twice in the head, according to witness reports.
One of them - 41-year-old Sgt Simon Hamilton-Jewell - refused an escape route and died with junior colleagues.
Two comrades died earlier in a violent street protest that culminated in a "last stand" gun battle at a derelict police station besieged by a 400-strong mob.
Last night the question being asked was: Why were the six alone and unsupported in the town?
The deaths were condemned by military chiefs as "murder". Four of the men were in their early 20s. Another was 30 with a 17-month- old daughter.
Their last horrific moments at Majar al-Kabir, 100 miles north of Basra, on Monday morning were described to the Daily Mirror yesterday by a local journalist and a man who said he was a "fixer" working for the British.
The original violence was believed triggered by anger at weapons searches in the town and allegations of insults to the Muslim faith.
Street demos in which two civilians are said to have been killed led to a firefight at the Yarmuk police station, now riddled with bullets.
The four Britons killed there put up their final resistance in three small rooms sharing a common doorway in a far corner of the building just off a central courtyard.
There seemed no hope of escape from the mob, some of them militiamen armed with AK47 rifles.
But Sgt Hamilton-Jewell was offered a way out through a window in an adjacent room by a local at the scene.
Salam Al Wahele, 30, speaking through an interpreter, said: "I was among the crowd at the police station. I had heard shots and wanted to see what was happening. I saw people who had guns and were firing on the British. There were more than 400 there.
"I work for the British as a 'fixer' and wanted to help them.
"By now the soldiers did not have their weapons. They had surrendered and given them to militiamen.
"I led a sergeant to a side room and said he could escape by a window.
"He said he did not want to go and leave the other men behind.
"He left me there and went back to the room where all the men were shot. They may have been killed by their own weapons, I think, or the AK47s."
Journalist Ali Al-Ateya, 36, from the American-funded Arabic- language station Radio Sawa, had also followed the British patrol as trouble built up in the town.
As the police station siege went on, he said he went to fetch two doctor friends from a hospital about 400 yards away.
They spoke English and he believed they could negotiate the release of the soldiers. When he returned, all had been killed.
Mr Al-Ateya said their weapons had been taken from them, their helmets removed and each had been shot at least twice in the head.
The executions were believed carried out in a room 10ft by 8ft.
Up to 100 British soldiers had rushed from Amarah 18 miles away but they arrived too late to save their comrades.
Mr Al-Ateya said: "I didn't think they would be killed. When I returned there with my doctor friends, I saw the bodies in the room.
"The men were dressed in their desert uniforms except their helmets - those had been removed and were strewn about the floor.
"One of the bodies was upright against a wall, others were lying about the floor in different positions. Each one had been shot in the head more than once. The blood was still warm and wet, as though the killings had only just happened.''
Mr Al-Ateya said he eventually summoned two military ambulances to come forward as the British reinforcements regained control.
He wrapped each body in a blanket taken from the police station and carried them with the help of his doctor friends to the waiting vehicles. The four were ferried to a field hospital.
The six were part of the 156 Provost Company of the Royal Military Police, based in Colchester, Essex.
In addition to Sgt Hamilton- Jewell, they were named as Cpl Russell Aston, 30, Cpl Paul Long, 24, Cpl Simon Miller, 21, L/Cpl Ben Hyde, 23, and L/Cpl Tom Keys, 20. Yesterday Lieut-Col Ronnie McCourt said at a base near Amarah: "This attack was unprovoked, it was murder.''
At the six's Colchester barracks, Major Bryn Parry-Jones said: "From the oldest to the youngest, the soldiers have between them a wealth of operational experience and distinguished service. They were very, very popular members of the unit and will be sorely missed."
Tony Blair praised the six as "extraordinary and heroic".
The Red Caps' main role was training Iraqi police but they may also have been part of routine patrols carrying out weapons searches. The tense build-up to the horror was detailed by journalist Mr Al- Ateya.
Details were sketchy but the army refused to comment on allegations that soldiers had earlier offended Muslims by using sniffer dogs in their homes.
Another claim in the conservative Shi'ite Muslim town of Majar al- Kabir was that a soldier mockingly held up a woman's underwear during a house-to-house search.
Mr Al-Ateya said: "When the patrol arrived on Monday morning, the soldiers began demanding to know if there were any militiamen or weapons in the town."
He claimed a British officer angered people even more when he said troops were going to carry out a foot patrol, even though it had been agreed that only mounted patrols would be carried out.
Stone-throwing began and one soldier is said to have pointed his gun at a teenager. The crowd believed the boy was going to be shot dead.
Mr Al-Ateya said a local man in his 30s - who he named as Taesyer Abd Al-Waheed - ran to his home for an AK47.
He returned to confront the British soldiers, who were by then at the town's market place. As soon as he was spotted with the gun, he was shot in the head .
The crowd then turned on the troops, other weapons were produced and a firefight began along Al Sri street. Two of the six Red Caps were shot dead in the battle, the patrol's Land Rover was abandoned, and the other four soldiers were chased for 20 minutes to the police station
Mr Al-Ateya said a second civilian - fixing his car in the main street - was killed in the original conflict.
UN chief Kofi Annan said in the wake of the horror that the UN was not ready to provide security in Iraq. It was the job of the coalition forces.
An unknown Islamic group - Muslim Fighters of the Victorious Sect - has sent a tape to Arab TV station al-Jazeera which seems to show a US military vehicle being blown up in a Baghdad suburb.
Jun 26 2003
By James Mellor
DESPERATE paratroopers were ordered to fix bayonets after almost running out of ammo during a bloody firefight with Iraqi rebels.
They were down to their last four magazines of bullets after a two- hour gun battle when the platoon commander warned his men to prepare for hand-to-hand combat.
He defiantly told them: "We're not going down without a fight."
Details of the battle emerged last night as two soldiers were fighting for their lives after being critically injured in an ambush at Al Majar al Kabir - hours before six military policemen were killed nearby.
A young paratrooper told how the 10-strong platoon were surrounded and came under fire from well organised rebels armed with RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and rifles.
The sobbing squaddie said to his dad on the phone: "We came under heavy attack from dozens of Iraqis.
"At one stage we were reduced to just four magazines of ammunition and the platoon commander told us to fix bayonets.
"The Americans bombed the Iraqi positions but they did not leave so they were obviously professionals. People behind the ambush were well-organised, hiding out in buildings as well as along the road."
Hand-to-hand combat was only averted when a helicopter dropped more ammo to the stricken troops from the 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment. The young para said it "came in the nick of time".
Military chiefs sent a rapid reaction force including tanks and a Chinook with more than 20 paras to try to save the soldiers.
Seven men were injured in the rescue helicopter. They included the two critically hurt who were last night being treated in Kuwait. The others are in a Basra hospital.
It was not clear how many rebels died. But the young para said: "There were piles of bodies all around us as we tried to fight off the attack. I lost count of the number who had gone down."
A military source said: "The paras have gone ballistic. They are determined to track down those behind the ambush." Iraqis in Al Majar have claimed troops have been using heavy-handed tactics when searching for weapons, increasing tensions in the town and fostering ill-will.
Initially British soldiers were given a warm welcome but the mood changed after they began hunting for and removing the weapons.
Some claimed troops had been bursting into homes with sniffer dogs and pointing guns at women and children.
One resident Faleh Saleem said yesterday: "A British soldier held the underwear of a woman and stretched it. How can we accept this as Muslims and as Shi'ites?" Another, Abu Faten, insisted a British presence in the town would no longer be accepted. He warned: "We will do the same if the British come back. We will not allow them to come back."
Officers have been warning troops to exercise extreme caution when dealing with suspected Iraqi militia in Al Majar, in the south of the country.
The young squaddie, who did not want to be named for fear of disciplinary action, said: "In the main it's been all hunky dory but there were problems dealing with the militia because of fears that rough treatment could spark this kind of backlash. It's not the locals that are the problem, it's the militia.
"We have to be careful when we take away weapons and how we deal with them generally."
British military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ronnie McCourt admitted Tuesday's deadly firefight had changed the mood in the town.
He said: "The emotion here is deep disappointment among the soldiers. It has changed."
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 12, 2003 NATO defense ministers approved the most extensive command structure revision in the history of the alliance today.
Under the plan, the number of NATO headquarters will drop from 20 to 11 and will place the alliance firmly on the road to counter the threats of the 21st century, NATO officials said.
U.S. officials are pleased with the changes. A senior defense official speaking on background said this will leave NATO forces better organized to conduct joint combined operations. There will be two new strategic commands: Allied Command-Europe will become Allied Command- Operations; Allied Command-Atlantic changes to Allied Command-Transformation.
U.S. Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr. has been nominated as the Supreme Allied Commander-Transformation, which will be headquartered in Norfolk, Va. U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Jones will remain Supreme Allied Commander-Europe; his headquarters will remain the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, but his NATO command will be Allied Command- Operations. Jones' geographic area of operations will also expand.
Below the supreme allied command level will be three joint force commands: Naples, Italy; Brunssum, the Netherlands; and Lisbon, Portugal.
Under the Brunssum headquarters will be three component commanders: the Component Commander-Air will be at Ramstein; CC-Maritime at Northwood, England; and CC-Land at Heidelberg, Germany.
Under the Naples command, the CC-Air will be in Izmir, Turkey; CC-Maritime in Naples; and CC-Land in Madrid, Spain. The Lisbon command will be primarily maritime and will add other components if needed.
Giambastiani also heads U.S. Joint Forces Command, also headquartered in Norfolk. That command leads the U.S. military's push toward transformation and officials expect a lot of synergy from the grouping of the NATO and U.S. commands.
Officials said Allied Command-Transformation will have a significant European footprint. NATO will establish a Joint Warfare Center in Stavanger, Norway. The alliance will also build a Joint Force Training Center in Bydgoscz, Poland. An element of the command will be located here as liaison to the Allied Command-Operations.
Officials said there are also prospects for countries to develop centers of excellence in areas such as maritime capabilities and chemical and biological warfare defense capabilities.
NATO officials said the change mirrors developments in the U.S. military.
U.S. officials said the changes finally configure NATO to fight the war on terror and not on its old nemesis, the Soviet Union.
The NATO command structure was originally set up to provide defense for Western Europe in the event of an attack by the Soviet Union. Heavy infantry and armor units were the formations of choice to counter a Soviet land attack. These formations were based near the area they were to defend.
The United States, for example, had 300,000 service members permanently based in Europe at the height of the Cold War. Yearly, the U.S. military practiced deploying heavy divisions from the United States to Europe.
This command structure was fine as long as there was one known enemy poised on the border of Western Europe, officials said.
But times changed. The Soviet Union imploded and the Warsaw Pact broke up. "The NATO command arrangement survived longer than the Soviet Union," quipped one NATO official.
The emphasis is now on creating lethal and highly deployable forces that can be sustained in remote areas. During the Warsaw NATO meeting in 2001, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld proposed creating a NATO Reaction Force. NATO leaders officially adopted the idea at the Prague Summit in November 2002.
Deployability will challenge the NATO members. Allies must invest in strategic and tactical airlift capabilities, said U.S. officials. Fast-sealift capabilities must also be developed and acquired. American officials said they have seen encouraging signs that the NATO allies are investing in these capabilities.
Allies will not need the mass armies of the past, and personnel are expensive. U.S. officials said the allies can finance many needed capabilities enhancements by shifting funds from personnel costs.
DPA Wednesday, Jun 11, 2003,Page 9
As political fallout rains down on London and Washington amid the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, another controversial justification must also be revisited: economic sanctions directly responsible for the deaths of at least 1.5 million Iraqis.
For nearly 13 years, the UN Security Council imposed an all-encompassing embargo on Iraqi imports and exports, intending to force former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to destroy stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons, and to dismantle a burgeoning nuclear weapons program. Several weapons inspectors on the ground in Iraq claimed that disarmament was virtually complete by the mid-1990s. The sanctions, however, were removed only last month when the US declared victory after its latest invasion.
According to UN aid agencies, by the mid-1990s about 1.5 million Iraqis -- including 565,000 children -- had perished as a direct result of the embargo, which included "holds" on vital goods such as chemicals and equipment to produce clean drinking water.
Former assistant secretary general of the UN Dennis Halliday quit in protest in 1998 after one year at the helm as the UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq. He described the sanctions as "genocidal."
"I've been using the word `genocide' because this is a deliberate policy to destroy the people of Iraq. I'm afraid I have no other view," Halliday told journalist David Edwards in an interview in March last year.
Halliday's successor in Iraq, Hans von Sponeck, also resigned citing the same reasons after 18 months. The two former UN staffers, with 64 years combined experience working at the world body, said what was inflicted on the Iraqi people during the more than 12 years of sanctions was tantamount to crimes against humanity.
Both said changes to the UN's sanctions procedure must be made to ensure that what occurred in Iraq from 1991 to this year never happens again.
The UN adopted economic sanctions in 1945 as a measure to keep trouble-making regimes in line. Iraq, however, was the only nation ever to have its imports and exports under complete control of the 15-member UN Security Council. The real decision-making power over Iraq's sanctions, however, was in the hands of veto-wielding permanent members -- France, China, Russia, Britain, and the US.
Joy Gordon, from Fairfield University in Connecticut, spent three years researching the economic sanctions and interviewing UN staff involved in Iraq. In a Harper's magazine story last November, Gordon concluded most resistance holding up vital goods into Iraq came from the US and the UK.
US officials routinely claimed "dual-use" (having both civilian and military applications) items needed to be "held" and contracts reviewed to ensure Saddam's regime could not use imports for weapons programs. Gordon, Halliday, von Sponeck, among numerous others, accused the US of deliberately withholding aid vital to the health and welfare of the Iraqi people.
Last year, for example, the US blocked contracts for water tankers on the grounds that they might be used to haul chemical weapons. Yet the arms experts from the UN Special Commission had no objection to the tankers, Gordon reported in the Harper's article. This was at a time when the major cause of child deaths in Iraq was a lack of access to potable water, and when the country was in the middle of a severe drought.
Award-winning journalist John Pilger -- who produced the documentary film Paying the Price -- Killing the Children of Iraq -- said up to July last year, US$5.4 billion in vital humanitarian supplies for the people of Iraq were being obstructed by the US, backed by Britain.
The UN humanitarian reports on the blockade's effects on Iraqi children tell a grisly tale. In December 1995, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported 567,000 Iraqi children had died as a direct consequence of economic sanctions. In March 1996, a World Health Organization study released found the blockade had caused a six-fold increase in the mortality rate of Iraqi children under the age of five. UNICEF reported in October 1996 that 4,500 Iraqi children under five were dying every month as a result of sanctions-induced starvation and disease. Statistics such as these are not hard to find.
Then US secretary of state Madeline Albright was adamant during her tenure about maintaining the tough sanctions despite the horrific reports coming out of Iraq. She was interviewed about the UN sanctions in a 1995 television interview with American TV magazine 60 Minutes.
Asked by interviewer Lesley Stahl: "We have heard that a half-million children have died [in Iraq, as a result of the sanctions] ... I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And you know, is the price worth it?"
Albright replied: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it."
The real threat posed by Saddam, and the need to disarm him of alleged stockpiles of deadly arms, remains a contentious issue. The main justification for the US-led invasion this year was the threat of his weapons of mass destruction. After 82 days in Iraq, not a single banned weapon has been found.
"The only weapon that Iraq has is oil and its revenues," Halliday said in an interview last December with Cairo's Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper.
That sentiment is backed by former chief UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter who spent seven years in Iraq. He has insisted the Iraqi regime was "fundamentally disarmed" between 1991 to 1998, with 90 percent to 95 percent of its unconventional weapons eliminated by December 1998.
He said the fact Saddam was a tyrant should not cloud over the outrage inflicted by the Security Council on the population of Iraq.
"He [Saddam] is a brutal dictator. He may torture to death 1,800 people a year. That's terrible and unacceptable. But we kill 6,000 a month. Let's put that on a scale," Ritter said in a June 1999 interview.
Evidence exists indicating US planners recognized early on the devastation sanctions would deliver upon the Iraqi population.
A declassified document from the US Defense Intelligence Agency in 1991 -- titled Iraq's Water Treatment Vulnerability -- outlined with deadly precision the effect economic sanctions would have on Iraq's water supply.
"Iraq depends on importing specialized equipment and some chemicals to purify its water supply," the agency report, dated Jan. 22, 1991, said. "Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease.
"Although Iraq is already experiencing a loss of water treatment capability, it probably will take at least six months [to June 1991] before the system is fully degraded," the report said.
Thomas Nagy, a professor at George Washington University who discovered and brought the agency's document to the media's attention, said the US government knew the sanctions would result in water-treatment failure and, consequently, would kill an incalculable number of Iraqis.
As outlined by the Geneva Conventions, he says, that is a war crime.
The Taipei Times.
Eric Hobsbawm Saturday June 14, 2003 The Guardian
The present world situation is unprecedented. The great global empires of the past - such as the Spanish and notably the British - bear little comparison with what we see today in the United States empire. A key novelty of the US imperial project is that all other empires knew that they were not the only ones, and none aimed at global domination. None believed themselves invulnerable, even if they believed themselves to be central to the world - as China did, or the Roman empire. Regional domination was the maximum danger envisaged until the end of the cold war. A global reach, which became possible after 1492, should not be confused with global domination.
The British empire was the only one that really was global in a sense that it operated across the entire planet. But the differences are stark. The British empire at its peak administered one quarter of the globe's surface. The US has never actually practised colonialism, except briefly at the beginning of the 20th century. It operated instead with dependent and satellite states and developed a policy of armed intervention in these.
The British empire had a British, not a universal, purpose, although naturally its propagandists also found more altruistic motives. So the abolition of the slave trade was used to justify British naval power, as human rights today are often used to justify US military power. On the other hand the US, like revolutionary France and revolutionary Russia, is a great power based on a universalist revolution - and therefore on the belief that the rest of the world should follow its example, or even that it should help liberate the rest of the world. Few things are more dangerous than empires pursuing their own interest in the belief that they are doing humanity a favour.
The cold war turned the US into the hegemon of the western world. However, this was as the head of an alliance. In a way, Europe then recognised the logic of a US world empire, whereas today the US government is reacting to the fact that the US empire and its goals are no longer genuinely accepted. In fact the present US policy is more unpopular than the policy of any other US government has ever been, and probably than that of any other great power has ever been.
The collapse of the Soviet Union left the US as the only superpower. The sudden emergence of a ruthless, antagonistic flaunting of US power is hard to understand, all the more so since it fits neither with long-tested imperial policies nor the interests of the US economy. But patently a public assertion of global supremacy by military force is what is in the minds of the people at present dominating policymaking in Washington.
Is it likely to be successful? The world is too complicated for any single state to dominate it. And with the exception of its superiority in hi-tech weaponry, the US is relying on diminishing assets. Its economy forms a diminishing share of the global economy, vulnerable in the short as well as long term. The US empire is beyond competition on the military side. That does not mean that it will be absolutely decisive, just because it is decisive in localised wars.
Of course the Americans theoretically do not aim to occupy the whole world. What they aim to do is to go to war, leave friendly governments behind them and go home again. This will not work. In military terms, the Iraq war was successful. But it neglected the necessities of running the country, maintaining it, as the British did in the classic colonial model of India. The belief that the US does not need genuine allies among other states or genuine popular support in the countries its military can now conquer (but not effectively administer) is fantasy.
Iraq was a country that had been defeated by the Americans and refused to lie down. It happened to have oil, but the war was really an exercise in showing international power. The emptiness of administration policy is clear from the way the aims have been put forward in public relations terms. Phrases like "axis of evil" or "the road map" are not policy statements, but merely soundbites. Officials such as Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz talk like Rambo in public, as in private. All that counts is the overwhelming power of the US. In real terms they mean that the US can invade anybody small enough and where they can win quickly enough. The consequences of this for the US are going to be very dangerous.
Domestically, the real danger for a country that aims at world control is militarisation. Internationally, the danger is the destabilising of the world. The Middle East is far more unstable now than it was five years ago. US policy weakens all the alternative arrangements, formal and informal, for keeping order. In Europe it has wrecked Nato - not much of a loss, but trying to turn it into a world military police force for the US is a travesty. It has deliberately sabotaged the EU, and also aims at ruining another of the great world achievements since 1945: prosperous democratic social welfare states. The crisis over the United Nations is less of a drama than it appears since the UN has never been able to do more than operate marginally because of its dependence on the security council and the US veto.
H ow is the world to confront - contain - the US? Some people, believing that they have not the power to confront the US, prefer to join it. More dangerous are those who hate the ideology behind the Pentagon, but support the US project on the grounds that it will eliminate some local and regional injustices. This may be called an imperialism of human rights. It has been encouraged by the failure of Europe in the Balkans in the 1990s. The division of opinion over the Iraq war showed there to be a minority of influential intellectuals who were prepared to back US intervention because they believed it necessary to have a force for ordering the world's ills. There is a genuine case to be made that there are governments so bad that their disappearance will be a net gain for the world. But this can never justify the danger of creating a world power that is not interested in a world it does not understand, but is capable of intervening decisively with armed force whenever anybody does anything that Washington does not like.
How long the present superiority of the Americans lasts is impossible to say. The only thing of which we can be absolutely certain is that historically it will be a temporary phenomenon, as all other empires have been. In the course of a lifetime we have seen the end of all the colonial empires, the end of the so-called thousand-year empire of the Germans, which lasted a mere 12 years, the end of the Soviet Union's dream of world revolution.
There are internal reasons, the most immediate being that most Americans are not interested in running the world. What they are interested in is what happens to them in the US. The weakness of the US economy is such that at some stage both the US government and electors will decide that it is much more important to concentrate on the economy than to carry on with foreign military adventures. Even by local business standards Bush does not have an adequate economic policy for the US. And Bush's existing international policy is not a particularly rational one for US imperial interests - and certainly not for the interests of US capitalism. Hence the divisions of opinion within the US government.
The key questions now are: what will the Americans do next, and how will other countries react? Will some countries, like Britain, back anything the US plans? Their governments must indicate that there are limits. The most positive contribution has been made by the Turks, simply by saying there are things they are not prepared to do, even though they know it would pay. But the major preoccupation is that of - if not containing - educating or re-educating the US. There was a time when the US empire recognised limitations, or at least the desirability of behaving as though it had limitations. This was largely because the US was afraid of somebody else: the Soviet Union. In the absence of this kind of fear, enlightened self-interest and education have to take over.
This is an extract of an article edited by Victoria Brittain and published in Le Monde diplomatique's June English language edition. Eric Hobsbawm is the author of Interesting Times, The Age of Extremes and The Age of Empire
29 May 2003
Tony Blair stood accused last night of misleading Parliament and the British people over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, and his claims that the threat posed by Iraq justified war.
Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, seized on a "breathtaking" statement by the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, that Iraq's weapons may have been destroyed before the war, and anger boiled over among MPs who said the admission undermined the legal and political justification for war.
Mr Blair insisted yesterday he had "absolutely no doubt at all about the existence of weapons of mass destruction".
But Mr Cook said the Prime Minister's claims that Saddam could deploy chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes were patently false. He added that Mr Rumsfeld's statement "blows an enormous gaping hole in the case for war made on both sides of the Atlantic" and called for MPs to hold an investigation.
Meanwhile, Labour rebels threatened to report Mr Blair to the Speaker of the Commons for the cardinal sin of misleading Parliament - and force him to answer emergency questions in the House.
Mr Rumsfeld ignited the row in a speech in New York, declaring: "It is ... possible that they [Iraq] decided that they would destroy them prior to a conflict and I don't know the answer."
Speaking in the Commons before the crucial vote on war, Mr Blair told MPs that it was "palpably absurd" to claim that Saddam had destroyed weapons including 10,000 litres of anthrax, up to 6,500 chemical munitions; at least 80 tons of mustard gas, sarin, botulinum toxin and "a host of other biological poisons".
But Mr Cook said yesterday: "We were told Saddam had weapons ready for use within 45 minutes. It's now 45 days since the war has finished and we have still not found anything.
"It is plain he did not have that capacity to threaten us, possibly did not have the capacity to threaten even his neighbours, and that is profoundly important. We were, after all, told that those who opposed the resolution that would provide the basis for military action were in the wrong.
"Perhaps we should now admit they were in the right."
Speaking as he flew into Kuwait before a morale-boosting visit to British troops in Iraq today, Mr Blair said: "Rather than speculating, let's just wait until we get the full report back from our people who are interviewing the Iraqi scientists.
"We have already found two trailers that both our and the American security services believe were used for the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons."
He added: "Our priorities in Iraq are less to do with finding weapons of mass destruction, though that is obviously what a team is charged with doing, and they will do it, and more to do with humanitarian and political reconstruction."
Peter Kilfoyle, the anti-war rebel and former Labour defence minister, said he was prepared to report Mr Blair to the Speaker of the Commons for misleading Parliament. Mr Kilfoyle, whose Commons motion calling on Mr Blair to publish the evidence backing up his claims about Saddam's arsenal has been signed by 72 MPs, warned: "This will not go away. The Government ought to publish whatever evidence they have for the claims they made."
Paul Keetch, the Liberal Democrat defence spokesman, said: "No weapons means no threat. Without WMD, the case for war falls apart. It would seem either the intelligence was wrong and we should not rely on it, or, the politicians overplayed the threat. Even British troops who I met in Iraq recently were sceptical about the threat posed by WMD. Their lives were put at risk in order to eliminate this threat - we owe it to our troops to find out if that threat was real."
But Bernard Jenkin, the shadow Defence Secretary, said: "I think it is too early to rush to any conclusions at this stage; we must wait and see what the outcome actually is of these investigations."
Ministers have pointed to finds of chemical protection suits and suspected mobile biological weapons laboratories as evidence of Iraq's chemical and biological capability. But they have also played down the importance of finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Earlier this month, Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, provoked a storm of protest after claiming weapons finds were "not crucially important".
The Government has quietly watered down its claims, now arguing only that the Iraqi leader had weapons at some time before the war broke out.
Tony Benn, the former Labour minister, told LBC Radio: "I believe the Prime Minister lied to us and lied to us and lied to us. The whole war was built upon falsehood and I think the long-term damage will be to democracy in Britain. If you can't believe what you are told by ministers, the whole democratic process is put at risk. You can't be allowed to get away with telling lies for political purposes."
Alan Simpson, Labour MP for Nottingham South, said MPs "supported war based on a lie". He said: "If it's right Iraq destroyed the weapons prior to the war, then it means Iraq complied with the United Nations resolution 1441."
The former Labour minister Glenda Jackson added: "If the creators of this war are now saying weapons of mass destruction were destroyed before the war began, then all the government ministers who stood on the floor in the House of Commons adamantly speaking of the immediate threat are standing on shaky ground."
Intelligence leaves no doubt that Iraq continues to possess and conceal lethal
George Bush, Us President 18 March, 2003
We are asked to accept Saddam decided to destroy those weapons. I say that
such a claim is palpably absurd
Tony Blair, Prime Minister 18 March, 2003
Saddam's removal is necessary to eradicate the threat from his weapons of
Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary 2 April, 2003
Before people crow about the absence of weapons of mass destruction, I suggest
they wait a bit
Tony Blair 28 April, 2003
It is possible Iraqi leaders decided they would destroy them prior to the
Donald Rumsfeld, US Defence Secretary 28 May, 2003
Virtually all press organs and 'experts', both Korean and foreign, suffer from two basic errors in assessing the North Korean nuclear issue. The first error is that they do not accept the fact that North Korea does possess nuclear weapons. Although some people suspect that North Korea may have nuclear devices, most tend to believe that it does not.
Some people claim that North Korea was about to manufacture nuclear devices in 1994, but it was forced to abandon its nuclear program in the face of fierce opposition by the United States. Others claim that North Korea has never had the technical ability to build nuclear devices, but the United States intentionally exaggerated North Korea's nuclear capability for its own strategic reasons - i.e., the US used the nuclear issue in order to bring North Korean down.
The second error is that they believe that North Korea pushed its nuclear program as a means of surviving its severe economic crisis in the 1990's.
The main reason for the failure to see the truth about North Korean nukes is the false rumors of North Korea's impending collapse and its imminent absorption by South Korea masked the gravity of the nuclear issue confronted by the United States. Today, these rumors have proven to be groundless but they have muddied the issues of North Korean nukes.
The press orgs and the experts were fed false intelligence on North Korea's nukes by the US intelligence services, which have no doubt obtained accurate information on North Korean nukes. I myself was mislead by the misinformation spread by the 'experts'. Thus in my March 1998 article (Nuclear Crisis and Financial Crisis: Two Major Issues Facing Korea), I wrote that North Korea was only in the Plutonium extraction stage and lacked technical expertise to build nuclear explosives. However, after researching the issue for a year, I realized that I was wrong.
North Korea's nuclear program affects the strategic landscape of the Northeast Asia in the 21st Century and it is the most important matter for the future of Korea. One should study this issue with all seriousness and diligence. One cannot afford to misjudge this problem.
In this article, I intend to prove that the US intelligence orgs have mislead the public about North Korea's nuclear capability.
The most striking aspect of the post-armistice US-DPRK confrontation is that America's overwhelmingly superior nuclear retaliatory power was check-mated by North Korea's conventional forces in an atmosphere of quasi-war. For over 30 years after the armistice, the Korean peninsula was under relentless threats of nuclear strikes by the United States and of massive conventional strikes by North Korea. For over 40 years, the Korean people had to endure the nightmare of nuclear war in Korea.
The United States had fingered its nuclear trigger countless times in Korea and the Korean people were spared of nuclear holocaust only by chance. The world's only super power going after a weak non-nuclear state for over 25 years non-stop is unprecedented and it cannot be justified by any norm. It is a naked aggression.
It should be noted that during the Cold War era, US-DPRK nuclear war was more likely than US-USSR or US-China nuclear war. US-USSR and US-China conflicts were nuclear-nuclear, whereas US-DPRK conflicts were nuclear vs. conventional weapons.
The United States wanted to keep up its pressure on North Korea and refused to defuse the powder-keg in Korea. There are three reasons for this:
a. - Defusing the crisis in Korea counters the US military domination of Korea, which will lead to South Korean nuclear armament. This will unhinge the American policy of nuclear monopoly in the region.
b. - Defusing the crisis in Korea will lead to diminished demands for American arms in the region.
c. - The United States' hatred of North Korea goes deep. Gregory Henderson stated that the American hatred is more intense that its hatred of King George III of England, Nazi Germany, China and Cuba. The US nuclear strategy against North Korea during the past half a century comes from such a deep-rooted animosity. It goes without saying that this animosity is equally reciprocated by North Korea.
Why does America hate North Korea so much?
The hatred is rooted in the Korean War. This 3-year long war was the first total war waged by America on an Asian Communist nation. The outcome of this war is likely to determine the future of America. When the war broke out, America was confident of an easy victory, but the mighty victor over Germany and Japan ran into great difficulties in fighting a backward agrarian nation formed only two years ago.
After suffering grievously, the United States was forced to sue for armistice. Adam Winnington, a special reporter for the London Daily Worker, reported that "For the first time in history, the East Asian Communists sat down at a negotiating table as equals of the Americans" - a far-reaching political signal for the world to see.
Kim Jong Il said: "The Fatherland Liberation War was the first revolutionary war in which the Korean people fought off heroically the main imperialist nation of the world and protected our homeland." The United States suffered the first defeat in its history. Its ego as the world super power was dealt a humiliating blow. The US nuclear strategy against North Korea is driven more by revenge for its humiliation than anything else.
Peter Hayes wrote: "After the Korean War, the United States planned nuclear war in Korea under the guise of preemption. But its real intention was to the closure of the war against North Korea and China with nuclear weapons."
It is important to note that the US nuclear intentions manifest in various forms. South Korea mistakenly views the US nuclear threats as a "nuclear umbrella" against North Korean threats and turns a blind eye to the nuclear wasteland that South Korea will become. On the other hand, North Korea lives in constant fears of imminent nuclear war.
The public opinion in the United States is on the side of nuclear war on a tiny distant peninsula to restore America's honor as the Super Power. The only concern the Americans have is how to protect its troops and civilians in Korea in case of nuclear war in Korea. The Korean people - North and South - are of little concern for the Americans.
(a)The US Nuclear War Plan
The US plan for nuclear retaliation was formulated during the Korean War.
The US shipped about 40 nuclear warheads to an air base near Seoul during the war and planned to drop them on North Korean targets. Two of the top commanders, Douglas MacArthur and Matthew B. Ridgway had asked for Washington's approval to use the bombs. In 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower formulated "New Look Strategy" that would use strategic bombers to drop nuclear bombs on invading forces.
(b) War Crisis in the 1960s
On December 2, 1967, USS Pueblo manned by Capt. Lloyd M. Bucher, six officers and 75 enlisted men of the US Navy and two civilians left the US naval base at Sasebo (Japan) on a spy mission. 50 days later at 13:45 hours, North Korea dispatched 4 P4 patrol boats and 2 MiG fighters to capture the American spy ship. One American sailor was killed during the capture.
Kim Jong Il personally directed this operation. Park In Ho, a People's Hero, participated in the operation as a marine and recalls: "We asked them for their nationality but they turned a search light on us and came toward us. They probably thought that no one would dare to mess with the Americans.
They were mistaken. Our 7-men marine unit boarded the ship and captured all 80 of them in no time at all".
This was the first time an American warship was captured intact by the enemy in its 106-year history. The national security advisers met at the White House in rage. They considered the Pueblo capture a war provocation and wanted nuclear retaliation. According to then Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford, some hot heads wanted to drop nuclear bombs on Pyongyang. However, the cool heads prevailed. President Lyndon B. Johnson determined that America was in no position to engage in two wars - one in Vietnam and another in Korea.
Johnson's first move was to ask the Soviet Union to press North Korea to release Pueblo and her crew. Accordingly, the Soviets asked North Korea to comply with the US demand. But Kim Jong Il rebuffed the Soviet pressure and retorted that: "We will punish anyone who violates our territory in accordance with our law. They came on their own will but they will not be allowed to leave at will."
Kim Il Sung recalled: "Comrade Kim Jong Il told me that he will not release the captured Americans unless they signed a surrender document. We will keep Pueblo as a war trophy even after they sign the document. Pueblo will some day be made into a museum so that our future generations will remember our deeds."
The Americans were enraged and debated the following plans of action:
a. - We will let North Korea know that we have mean ways to retaliate.
b. - We will impose air surveillance up to 80 km north of the DMZ.
c. - We will continue naval intelligence using the spy ship Banner.
d. - We will salvage the secret assets dumped into the sea by the Pueblo crew.
e. - We will close off Wonsan by seeding 83 mines.
f. - We will capture North Korean warships.
g. - We will bomb the North Korean naval base at Mun-pyong-ri.
h. - We will attack the KPA 6th Division HQ located 10 km north of the DMZ.
i. - We will blockade North Korea.
The United States dispatched three carrier battle groups to Korea and deployed strategic bombers for nuclear attacks on North Korea. USS Enterprise accompanied by 16 destroyers and battleships operated in waters 50 miles south of Ullung-do. In addition, the United States had 372 war planes ready to attack North Korea. For the first time since the Cuban crisis, a Presidential executive order was issued to mobilize 15,000 air reservists.
North Korea at the time was armed with conventional weapons only, but it refused to back down. On the contrary, it went on the offensive. At 21:00 hours of April 14th, 1968, North Korean troops attacked American and South Korean troops at Dae Sung-dong south of Panmun-jom. They killed two Americans, two South Koreans and wounded several. From 1967 to 1969, four such attacks occurred killing 11 Americans.
It was the United States that blinked first. US Army Gen. Gilbert H.
Woodward was forced to sign a surrender document on behalf of the United States Government and accepted 82 POWs and one corpse at a Panmumjom ceremony. This was December 23, 1968. Some 30 years from this day, the USS Pueblo is still in North Korea.|
In December 1998, Kim Jong Il had Pueblo moved from Wonsan to Dae-dong-gang, where another American warship Gen. Sherman was sunk in September 1866. Pueblo is moored at the site of the sinking as a witness to the continued aggression of the United States.
On April 15, 1969, an American EC-121 spy plane took off from an air base at Azuki (Japan). The plane carried 30 US Navy officers and enlisted men and one US marine. It flew along the east coast of North Korea on a spy mission.
The plane lost radar contacts near Chung-jin at about 14:00 hours. About one hour and 55 min later, Radio Pyongyang announced that the Korean People's Army shot down the spy plane with a ground-to-air missile. The plane went down with its crew into the depth of the East Sea. Kim Jong Il commanded this operation.
Richard Nixon accused Lyndon Johnson of mishandling the Pueblo affair, but soon after his inauguration, Nixon was unexpectedly handed the EC-121 incident. Nixon dispatched two carrier battle groups to Korea and stationed F-4 fighter-bombers on South Korean bases. As in the case of Pueblo, North Korea refused to be intimated by the American show of force and went on its own show of force. On August 17, barely 4 months after the spy plane incident, the North Korean Army shot down an American helicopter (OH-23) near Hangang. Three of the crewmen were wounded and captured alive. On December 3, 1969, the United States signed a letter of apology for the release of the crew.
(c) War Crisis of the 1970's
In June 1976, the United Stated began Team Spirit military exercises aimed at waging nuclear war on North Korea. On August 18th, less than two months after the exercise began, three American officers, 7 enlisted men and 5 Korean workers appeared at the Bridge of No Return. They claimed that a large poplar tree near the bridge got in the way of an American observation post and proceeded to chop down the tree. Earlier on August 6th, they tried to cut down the tree but North Korean soldiers chased them away. A North Korean officer told the group to stop cutting the tree, but the American officers refused to obey and started a quarrel.
Kim Jong Il ordered that the Americans should be taught a lesson. He also told the troops not to harm the South Korean workers. The North Korean officer took off his wrist watch and knocked down an American officer in charge with one blow, whereupon, another American officer grabbed an axe from a Korean worker and threw it at the North Korean officer. The North Korean caught the axe in the air and axed the American to death. An American captain and a lieutenant were killed and eight Americans were injured.
It is interesting to note that the whole event was video-taped by the Americans from an observation post. Another point to note is that even though an American quick reaction force unit stood nearly, the order to counter-attack never came. The US released only the part of the video that showed the North Korean officer axing the Americans and hid the scenes leading to it from the public. The world opinion sympathized with the Americans and the North Koreans were shown to be barbaric savages. The Non-Aligned Nations Conference at Colombo voted down North Korea's demand for US troop withdrawal and confederal union of Korea on the same day.
The US Commander in Korea, Gen. Richard Stilwell, was vacationing in Japan at the time and upon hearing the news of the axe killings, he rushed back to Korea in the back seat of a fighter plane. The United States again dispatched a carrier battle group and strategic bombers to Korea on account of a poplar tree under the code name Operation Paul Bunyan. The Americans moved tactical nukes to the DMZ area in plain view of the North Koreans. B52 bombers loaded with nuclear bombs left Okinawa and flew toward Pyongyang.
They would make sharp u-turns upon reaching the skies over the DMZ. Kim Jong Il was not impressed and laughed at the American moves.
On August 21, about 7 O'clock in the morning, a company of US army engineers escorted by US and South Korean special forces units arrived at the poplar tree. 20 troop carrying helicopters protected by 7 armed helicopters hovered above. The North Koreans fired at the command helicopter carrying the American commander (Gen. Brady), which crash-landed. Later that day, an emergency meeting was held at Panmunjum and North Korea handed a memo from the North Korean Supreme Commander to the UN Commander.
The United States contracted the Science Applications, Inc. (SAI) to research nuclear war on North Korea. According to the SAI report, the United States must destroy with nuclear weapons at least 30% of North Korea's tanks, artillery and other equipment, 40% of the troops and 50% of its communication systems. The report went on to say that at least 30 nuclear bombs must be fired from 15 km from Seoul.
From 1960 to 1970, the United States was engaged in Vietnam and had no resources to fight another war in Korea. But 1970 heralded the end of the Vietnam War and the United States wratched up its nuclear threats on North Korea. US helicopters ferried nuclear weapons from storage locations some 35 to 50 miles south of the DMZ. In 1975, the United States, fearing North Korean attacks on its nukes at the DMZ, relocated them to rear areas.
In June 1975, US Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger said that in case of a North Korean attack, the United States would mount nuclear attacks or drastically increase its ground troops. Gen. James Hollingsworth stated that the US had a '9-day war plan', according to which North Korea would be defeated in a few days in a violent clash with 700-800 air sorties.
On the occasion of Park Jung Hee's assassination on October 26, 1979, the United States dispatched a carrier battle group to the waters of Chejudo and on November 14th, it dropped 11 life-size dummy nuclear bombs in a practice run.
(d) War Crisis of the 1980s
The Reagan's hard line administration made the Korean situation worse. The United States practiced its deep strike and air-land battle doctrine in Korea. The United States expanded combat troops to 191,700, of which 118,000 were Koreans and 73,700 were Americans.
What did North Korea do to counter the US threats? First, in 1983, North Korea moved its strike forces stationed at north of Pyongyang and Wonsan to the front areas. Second, North Korea conducted three joint naval exercises with the Soviet navy from 1986 to 1989. The Soviet Union was leaning toward detente with America at the time and these joint exercises were ineffectual.
Third, North Korea proposed a 3-party peace conference of North, South and the United States. North Korea for the first time was willing to negotiate with South Korea, but the United States turned down this proposal.
(e) The War Crisis of the 1990s
The nuclear threats intensified as George Bush left the White House and Clinton took over. Clinton's 'Presidential Review Document #13' states that the United States will mount preemptive strikes on North Korea if it developed nuclear weapons or long-range missiles.
North Korea's decision to withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty took the United States by surprise. It shook the nuclear foundation of the American hegemony. As Pat Buchanan said, it was "indeed a wakeup call to us. It was the end of the post-Cold War euphoria". The United States was at a loss on how to respond to North Korea's nuclear program.
On March 16, 1994, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that North Korea prevented its inspection team from examining the radiochemical laboratory at Yongbyon. The United States used this as an excuse to break the DPRK-US terms of agreement and revived it Team Spirit military exercises.
On April 28, 1994, Robert Gallucci proposed at a DPRK-US meeting that the United States will scrap Team Spirit exercises if North Korea abided by nuclear safeguards agreement and participated in north-south dialogs. But Gen. Gary Luck opposed the Gallucci proposal on the ground that the exercises were needed to safeguard the US troops in Korea.
On May 13, 1994, North Korea removed spent fuel rods from a 5-MW reactor before the arrival of an inspection team, thus unabling outside agencies to estimate the plutonium stock of North Korea. The United States threatened to bring in the UN Security Council for a hostile resolution.
North Korea has been at the receiving end of America's nuclear threats for half a century and had to maintain military counter measures. The post-war strategy is as follows:
First, it had to develop tactics unique to the Korean situation. Kim Il Sung said: "We must develop tactics suitable for our geography and physical characteristics." North Korean tactics include blitz-krieg, ambush, encirclement, mountain fighting, night fighting, large-scale maneuvers, regular army and special forces, and so on.
North Korean strategy is to destroy war machines all across South Korea at the same time and occupy key positions. Instead of pushing back enemy lines, North Korean plan is to attack the enemy from all angles inside and out. It plans to attack rear area military assets and the enemy troops in three days or less before the main reinforcements arrive.
Second, development of a strong army based on organization and mental discipline. Modernization and universal military training are the foundation of North Korean military. Kim Il Sung said: "We must possess the revolutionary belief that we can defeat the enemy with our inferior weapons.
We must rely not on nuclear weapons but on our people united against the enemy.".
Third, war supplies must be stocked for long struggles. Kim Il Sung said: "We must turn our plants and factories for war material production when war breaks out. We must ensure that every factory will produce war material. Our war reserves must be for several years".
Fourth, underground fortress. The most effective defense against the American nuclear attacks is underground bunkers. Underground facilities are needed to mount counter offensive, for producing war supplies and for sheltering the people.
US intelligence reports indicate that North Korea can occupy Seoul in 2-4 days using conventional weapons alone. South Korean strategy is to defend Seoul first and then go on the offensive. It has three lines of defense against North Korean invasion. The first line has 30,000 troops which are within range of North Korean artillery and North Korea can easily break this line with its heavy guns.
There are two major reasons why one would consider North Korean forces superior to South Korean forces even in terms of conventional weapons:
First, the South Korean army was created by the United States and it has been under the US tutelage and control ever since. It has significant combat capacity but it is short on operational command and wartime operational control. South Korea has peacetime operational control of its army which may be taken away by the United States. It is essentially a servant army and has no tactical intelligence capability of its own, being dependent on the US.
Second, North Korea's guns can strike South Korea's capital city - the heart and head of South Korea. Seoul is a hostage to North Korea's guns and a deterrent to US attacks on North Korea. North Korea has several thousands heavy guns hidden in 1,800 underground bunkers. These guns can hit Seoul and Inchon with 10,000 shells per minute and turn the heartland of South Korea into a sea of fire. Natural gas pipelines criss-crossing the under belly of these cities will explode and the resulting death tolls will be astronomical. Civilian refugees and automobiles will clog the roads and hamper military transports.
Some scholars assert that North Korean forces are inferior to South Korean forces and hence North Korea needs nuclear weapons to even the balance. They are wrong in their assertion. North Korea holds more trump cards than South Korea. There is no reason why North Korea should invest huge sums of money and political risks for nuclear development.
North Korea's nuclear program is not intended to counter South Korea's military but it is solely to counter the American nuclear threats. North Korea knows that the only deterrent to the American nuclear strikes is its own nuclear capability.
It has been said the North Korea was forced to develop nuclear weapons to defend itself from US nuclear attacks. However, it is wrong to assume that North Korean nukes are purely for defensive usage. It should be noted that North Korea's military doctrine is based on strategic offensives.
Kim Jong Il said: "If the enemy sharpens black sabers, then we will sharpen red swords. If the enemy invades us, we will gladly respond with revolutionary warfare."
What is meant by "revolutionary" war offensive strategy? It means North Korea will strike America's heartland and unite Korea in case of US aggression. Kim Il Sung said: "If the United States bombs our country, we will promptly retaliate. If the enemy strikes us, we will strike back." Kim's statement implies that North Korea has retaliation capability, some means of striking the continental USA.
Kim Il Sung said: "We must continue to strengthen our military capabilities. Our Party intends to unite the country peacefully. But if the enemy gets in our way militarily, we will use force to unite the country."
The problem is that North Korea cannot defeat the United States that has a vast stock of weapons of mass destruction. North Korea knows that the only effective offensive weapons against US aggression is nuclear. North Korea's conventional forces have little effect on the US military. For this reason, North Korea embarked on the road to nuclear armament.
North Korea faced a serious political dilemma. If it became known that North Korea has nuclear weapons, South Korea and Japan would develop their own nukes. Nuclear-armed Japan and South Korea are not in North Korea's best interest. North Korea had to find a solution to this dilemma and nuke-free Korea was the answer.
North Korea proposed nuke-free Korea in 1986. From 1989 on, North Korea has repeatedly claimed that it had no nuclear program and pushed nuke-free Korea. North Korea's primary objective was to freeze South Korea's nuclear program without freezing its own.
It is interesting to note that the United States has been pushing for nuke-free Korea as well. The US wanted both North and South to abandon nuclear ambitions and planned to remove its tactical nukes from Korea. In fact, it is believed that all US nuclear weapons had been taken out of Korea by the end of 1991.
North Korea completed a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at Yongbyon in June 1992. The United States believed that North Korea could achieve nuclear capability soon after and frantically searched for means of ascertaining North Korea's nuclear intentions. The United States forced South Korea to accept North Korea's nuke-free Korea proposal. North-South joint declaration of nuke-free Korea was announced on January 20, 1992 and became effective February 19th. This effectively shut down South Korea's nuclear program.
Kim Il Sung said: "We do not have the desire or the means to build nuclear weapons. We have stated this several times already. We have no use for nuclear weapons - even if we had them. It is unthinkable for us to use nuclear weapons on our fellow countrymen in South Korea."
It is easy to misread Kim's statement. Kim asserts that he will not use nukes on South Korea and that he will not build nukes to strike South Korea.
But he does mention that his offensive strategy against the United States is based on nuclear weapons. Kim's intention is to use his nukes on US targets in America and use his conventional forces to occupy South Korea.
North Korea's armament factories and key military facilities are hidden underground. The main reason for going sub terrain is to survive US air attacks and go on the offensive. It is also to foil the US spy satellites.
In view of this fact, it is strange that North Korea has allowed US intelligence to discover and monitor its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon.
The first detection of North Korea's nuclear program at Yongbyon was made in April 1982. The US intelligence experts determined that North Korean nuclear program began in 1979. Since then US spy cameras hovered over Yongbyon continuously. In March 1986, US intelligence analysts discovered cylindric craters on the banks of Ku-ryong-gang and a rectangular building the size of two football fields.
American nuke experts surmised that the craters indicate that North Korea was in the second stage of nuclear program - i.e., experimental high-explosive denotations for nuke triggers. Indeed, North Korea conducted about 70 tests of high-explosives from 1980 to 1991.
In February 1987, the US detected cells inside the rectangular building and the experts determined that the cells were for plutonium separation. Soon after, North Korea covered up the building so that the US spy cameras could no longer see its insides. This intensified the American anxiety.
There are several puzzles here. Why did North Korea conduct as many as 70 high-explosive tests so close to the suspected nuclear facility? Why did North Korea leave traces of its tests being fully aware of the US spy cameras hover above? Conventional wisdom would put a roof over any building that has sensitive innards. But why the roof-less building?
North Korea has numerous underground facilities, but it chose to build a nuclear facility above ground. The only plausible explanation is that North Korea was out to deceive the US. The world's experts debated if the Yongbyon facility had progressed far enough for nuclear bombs or not and they were oblivious to North Korea's other nuclear facilities.
Why did North Korea make its Yongbyon facility so visible?
North Korea used the facility to force the United States to a bargaining table. American suspicion that the facility was for nuclear bombs played into the hands of North Korea. In February 1990, North Korea's delegates to the International Atomic Energy Control Agency demanded, in return for allowing inspection of the Yongbyon facility, that the United States must remove its nukes from South Korea and that it must stop the Team Spirit military exercises. The United States refused to go along.
On July 21, 1990, North Korea stated that it would open the Yongbyon facility for inspections, if the United States promised not to mount nuclear attacks on North Korea and removed all nuclear weapons from South Korea. On June 11, 1991, the United States finally buckled down to the North Korean demands.
After forcing the US to forego nuclear attacks on North Korea, it moved onto the next phase: US-DPRK bilateral negotiations. On April 1, 1994, North Korea announced that the Yongbon issue was for the US and DPRK to settle.
The United States promised easing of economic sanctions and diplomatic relations if North Korea allowed inspections of the Yongbyon facility.
If North Korea had no nuclear weapons and the Yongbyon facility were the only nuclear facility, then the United States could have easily mounted preemptive strikes on the facility. The fact of the matter is that North Korea has two parallel tracks of nuclear programs: one for military applications and one for civilian applications.
The Yongbyon facility is for civilian usage and not for nuclear weapons.
North Korea obtained reactor technology from East Germany, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia in the 1980s. On December 29, 1986, North Korea established the Atomic Energy Institute under Prof. Choe Ha Gun, a noted nuclear physicist.
In 1970, Kim Il Sung ordered the North Korean Academy of Sciences, Military and Security organs to speed up nuclear weapons development. The International Atomic Energy inspectors found that the Yongbyon facility was some 30 years old and quite dated, and that it would be difficult to produce any nuclear weapons at the facility.
One must be aware that the Yongbyon facility is not intended for weapons production and that North Korea has other nuclear facilities for military applications. In 1998, the US intelligence detected evidence of high-explosive tests at a site 30 km from the Yongbyon facility. In February 1993, Western intelligence agencies found evidence of military nuclear facilities built in the 1960's with Soviet technology. The facilities began plutonium production early on. The US intelligence suspects that there is a secret military facility in Yanggang-do. In September 1991, France's Aeronautical Research Center found evidence of another nuclear facility in Pyongang Buk-do. It was built inside a mountain. It is believed that North Korea has four nuclear facilities for weapons production.
It is clear that North Korea intended to use the Yongbyon facility for political gains after having stock-piled nuclear weapons built at secrete nuclear facilities elsewhere. It was North Korea's nuclear weapons that forced the United States to the negotiation tables and the Yongbyon facility was a face-saving fig leaf for the United States for its sudden reversal of anti-DPRK policies.
North Korea's nuclear program is shrouded in secrecy. There is no external source that can break the secrecy. There are three reasons for this:
First, North Korea developed nuclear weapons on its own and no outside agents were involved. North Korea was forced to go alone because no other nations would help it. So-called alliances or pacts counted precious little.
North Korea refused to be subservient to China or the USSR and hence these nations refused to provide any assistance to North Korea's nuclear program.
In September 1980, North Korea started construction of a 5-MW reactor at Yongbyon with its own money and technology. This reactor was completed in October 1987. This reactor used natural uranium and graphite moderators. The US intelligence examined air samples from this reactor and determined that it was based on a British design - the 50-MW Calder Hall magnox. North Korea's self-reliance on nuclear development made it possible to continue its program even after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. Had North Korea relied on external sources for its nuclear program, it would have been fatal.
Second, even if the US intelligence had the complete story on North Korea's nuclear program, it would have to hide it from the public. It would neither deny nor confirm it. This is common practice not limited to North Korean issues. For example, both Israel and South Africa possess nuclear weapons, but the US intelligence is silent on the subject. It is noteworthy that the United States has decided to live with North Korea's nukes. This came about in March 1994. The United States was more keen on preventing North Korea from making more bombs than on the bombs North Korea already had.
Third, North Korea has informed the United States that it has nuclear weapons. No other nations were informed. It was to North Korea's advantage to let the US know that it has nukes, because without this knowledge, the US would have continued its belligerence against North Korea. The US might have mounted preemptive strikes on North Korea.
When did North Korea convince the US that it did indeed have nuclear weapons?
On June 15, 1994, former President Jimmy Carter passed through Panmumjon to meet Kim Il Sung. Carter was shown convincing evidence of North Korea's nuclear bombs. Kim also told Carter in no uncertain terms that North Korea will attack if President Clinton continued his anti-DPRK policies. Carter was so concerned about the war potential that he woke up at 3 O'Clock in the morning and sent his aid Marion Creekmore to Panmumjom to relay an urgent message to Clinton via a secure line to the White House.
Kim Il Sung told Carter that North Korea is ready and willing to exchange nuclear strikes with the United States. Carter was supposed to deliver Clinton's ultimatum to Kim Il Sung, but instead he was given Kim's nuclear ultimatum, which was totally unexpected. Soon after Carter's return home, Clinton dropped his bellicose stance and proposed a peaceful resolution.
Even though North Korea's nuclear secret is known to only two parties - the US and DPRK - there exist enough evidence to draw some conclusions. We can look at North Korea's nuclear scientists, engineering and various time-lines.
(a) North Korea's Nuclear Scientists
Chen Soe Sun was primarily responsible for China's first nuclear bomb and Abdul Kaidr Khan was the Pakistan bomb-maker. Who was North Korea's bomb-maker? North Korea's bomb was made possible by three noted scientists:
Dr. Lee Sung Ki, a world-class chemist. Dr. Lee Sung Ki (1905 - 1996) was noted for his invention of vi nylon and his devotion to make man-made textiles for the poor of Korea. He invented high-explosives for North Korea's artillery - called "Lee Sung Ki canons" in his honor. Dr. Lee was the first director of North Korea's Atomic Energy Agency and directed its nuclear weapons program.
Dr. Do Sang Rok (1903 - 1990) was a quantum field theorist. He published research papers on quantum mechanics in Japan and the US as early as 1930.
He was an expert on nuclear matters and nuclear energy. He built his own particle accelerator and conducted North Korea's first experiment on nuclear reactions.
Dr. Han In Suk was born in South Korea and studied physics in Japan and Germany before Liberation. He taught physics at the Seoul National University after Liberation but fled to North Korea soon after. After the Korean War, he studied physics at Moscow University. He returned to Pyongyang in 1960 and published numerous research papers on nuclear physics.
In addition to these three renowned scientists, there were many other outstanding scientists: Dr. Kim Gyng Wan, a chemist and president of Kim Chaik University; Dr. Yuk Gyng Ku, son of Yuh Woon Yong, who studied nuclear physics in the USSR; Dr. Jung Gun, Dr. Choe Hak Soon, Dr. Keh Yong Soon and Dr. Park Kwan Oh. Several hundred of North Korea's top scientists studied at the Dubna Nuclear Research Institute in the USSR.
Thus North Korea had ample manpower for nuclear weapon development. Dr. Do Sang Rok was awarded the 'Kim Il Sung' award in 1973 and Dr. Lee Sung Ki was similarly honored in 1980. These two scientists were honored again in 1986, most likely for North Korea's first nuclear bomb.
(b) North Korea's Engineering Technology
North Korea started to promote engineering technology early on. Even though North Korea had never built even a single steam locomotive, it managed to design and build electric trains that required no less than 14,000 different parts by 1961. Construction of Pyongyang subways began in that year. Since 1980, North Korea has been making 300-HP dozers, 10-cubic meter drills, 3,000-HP high speed engines, 10-KVA generators and 4,200-HP electric locomotives. In the 1990's, North Korea was able to build 10,000-ton press, 18m tunneling and 20-m large sea-going vessels.
Kim Jong Il said: "Science and technology form the foundation of our revolution and to ignore science and technology is to ignore our revolution." Kim Jong Il pushed hard for advances in science and technology.
Military science and engineering were high on the priority in North Korea.
Kim Jong Il understood that modern warfare required advanced technology.
North Korea built its first submarine in 1975. Building submarines requires advanced engineering. Five subs were built in 1976 alone. In 1970, North Korea began to produce T-59 battletanks, RPG-7 anti-tank rockets, 130-mm and 180-mm self-propelled guns, 152-mm howitzers, M-1973 armored cars, missile speed boats, 1,500-ton frigates and 1,400-ton R-class large submarines.
In late 1970, North Korea began to produce K-61 land-sea dual armored vehicles, T-62 tanks, high-speed landing ships and Frog 5/7 missiles. As early as 1960, North Korea began to manufacture virtually all parts of its MiG-15 fighters. Starting in 1970, it began to build MiG planes under a license agreement with the Soviet Union. By 1980, it could build some 70% of its MiG parts and in 1990, it began to build MiG-29 fighters.
North Korea has made considerable advances in electronics. Kim Jong Il said: "We must build the most modern plants for electronics. We must take our electronics industry to the most advanced level in the world." North Korea's #69 Electronics Plant is comparable to South Korea's Samsung plant.
It makes 50-Meg DRAMs. In 1986, the Mirim College was established for electronic warfare.
In April 1955, North Korea established an atomic and nuclear research institute in spite of the devastation of the Korean War. On March 26, 1956, North Korea and the USSR signed a joint-research agreement and over 200 North Korean scientists went to the Dubna Nuclear Research Institute. North Korea signed a joint nuclear research pact with the USSR in September 1959, and by 1960, North Korea had acquired the Soviet Purex reprocessing technology.
In January 1962, the Soviet Union helped North Korea build a civilian-use IRT-2000 research reactor at Yongbyon. A nuclear research lab was established in February 1964. North Korea has invested more than 5 billion dollars in nuclear research.
In September 1980, North Korea began construction of the #2 reactor at Youngbyon and tested it in 1986. It went into operation in October 1987.
South Korea's first reactor went into operation in December 1994 with thermal power output of 30 MW. The South Korean reactor had a core of 0.5 meter in diameter and 0.7 m high. In comparison, the #2 reactor is 6.6 meters in diameter and 6 meters tall. The South Korean reactor fuel capacity was 50kg and the #2 capacity is 50,000kg.
In 1984, North Korea began construction of the #3 reactor at Yongbyon. This was to be a gigantic 50-200-MW monster. By the time the US intelligence discovered it, it was already half completed. It was projected to be completed by 1995. Nuclear experts estimated that this reactor could produce 7-8 kg of plutonium per year enough for one or two nuclear bombs.
Former CIA director James Woolsey stated that North Korea has most likely enough plutonium for at least one bomb. The Russian intelligence reported in 1990 that North Korea had bombs. Das Stern magazine of Germany wrote that North Korea secretly acquired 56 kg of plutonium from Russia in 1992. The International Peace Research Center in Sweden estimates that North Korea has 4-5 bombs.
It should be noted that Pakistan and North Korea embarked on a nuclear program at about the same time. Pakistan's military technology is less advanced than North Korea's, but it managed to build nuclear bombs. It is unlikely that North Korea with its advanced military technology lagged behind Pakistan in the nuclear race.
In 1974, South Korea started its nuclear program, but the United States shut it down. Had it not been for the United States, South Korea would have built its first bomb by 1980. North Korea's military technology was not behind South Korea's and it is plausible that North Korea would have built its first bomb in the 1980's.
(c) North Korea's First Bomb
When did North Korea begin its nuclear program? The Nuclear Chemical Defense Division of the KPA General Staff was established in 1961, which had a command and 7 sections, the 55th Research, the 710th Research and the 398th Research labs. From this fact, one may assume that North Korea's nuclear program was initiated around 1960 and nuclear weapons were developed in the 1970's.
According to a Russian intelligence report, in 1970, Kim Il Sung ordered North Korea's Academy of Sciences, military and security agencies to build nuclear weapons. In May 1981, North Korean officials told a visiting East German delegation that "We must have atomic bombs". The critical point here is whether North Korea's nuclear program began in 1990 or 1970. It was no doubt 1970 when the program was launched.
What was the political situation in the 1970s? In those days, North Korea was not behind South Korea economically. The United States was defeated in Vietnam and North Korea's star was rising high among the non-aligned countries. President Carter wanted to take out US troops from South Korea.
President Park Jung Hee's nuclear program was under fire by the United States and the US-ROK relations were at a low point. It was under these favorable conditions that North Korea inaugurated its nuclear program.
Prof. Lee Young Hee states that: "In 1991, the Soviet Union informed North Korea that it would stop providing nuclear umbrella to North Korea, upon which North Korea launched an all-out program to develop nuclear-missiles.".
Prof. Lee is wrong on two points:
First, unlike the US-ROK treaty, the USSR-DPRK pact never included nuclear protection. The former USSR nuclear weapons in the Far East were not for providing protection for North Korea and Lee's claim is groundless.
Second, North Korea's nuclear program began in 1970, not in 1990 as claimed by Lee. Lee's claim that North Korea was forced to develop nuclear weapons as a desperate defensive measure against American aggression misses the point that North Korea's main strategy is offensive, direct nuclear attacks on America.
The reason why we dwell so much on when North Korea's nuclear program began is that we can infer from it just when North Korea began to produce nuclear warhead from the average time it took other nations to develop nukes. It took the United States four years to build the bomb. It took other nations 6-7 years to fabricate nuclear bombs from the day they acquired fissionable materials.
It is therefore safe to assume that it took North Korea 6-7 years to build its first bomb, which puts North Korea's first bomb at 1986 or so. It was 1979 when North Korea acquired plutonium extraction technology and 1983 when North Korea completed high-explosive tests for nuclear triggers. In 1989, North Korea became the fourth nation to conduct a high-altitude fusion test.
In spite of these facts, foreign experts claim that North Korea's nuclear program began in 1990. In February 1989, then Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze stated that North Korea will have nuclear capability soon, but a classified Russian intelligence report in the same time period stated North Korea already had one or two bombs. High-ranking Chinese officials visiting the US War College in February 1994 told the Americans that North Korea had one or two bombs.
America's foremost expert on North Korean military, Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., said that North Korea built its first bomb sometime between 1990 and 1991. The German magazine Das Stern published an article on March 14, 1993, which states that North Korea built its first nuclear warhead in February 1990. This article was based on a KGB report, which also said that North Korea had already deployed 6-7 nuclear weapons.
Even though both China and Russia acknowledged North Korea's nuclear capability, the United States refused to go along. The 1993 National Intelligence Estimate showed that the US intelligence community was split in two camps: the CIA and the DIA believed that North Korea had the bomb, whereas the State Department and the White House believed otherwise. In March 1992, the US State Dept stated that it would take North Korea at least two more years to build the bomb.
On December 12, 1993, then Secretary of State Espens told NBC that North Korea had enough plutonium for one or two bombs and it might already have one nuclear device. In 1992, the US State Dept stated that North Korea had the technical capability to build crude nuclear explosives that can be mounted on trains or transport planes.
In contrast, the US CIA accepts that North Korea has the bomb but refuses to divulge any details. DCIA Robert M. Gates told a congressional committee on February 25, 1992 that North Korea had a plenty of bomb materials and it could make nuclear bombs in a matter of two-three months. In a closed session, Gates stated that North Korea already had the bomb.
After the Gulf War, the US intelligence learned that Iraq's nuclear program was far more advanced that what they had believed. The CIA was taken aback by this startling fact and formed the Nonproliferation Center of more than 100 nuclear experts to reevaluate its nuclear intelligence on North Korea.
It was concluded that North Korea had a large stockpile of fissionable materials and that it had one or two bombs.
However, the CIA went on to emphasize that the North Korean bombs were crude. The reason why the CIA qualifies North Korean bombs as "crude" or "primitive" is to convey the notion that the North Korean bombs pose no threat to the United States.
Now we come to the question of North Korea's bomb test. It is known that North Korea has not test-fired any nuclear weapon. Some people use this fact to negate North Korea's bombs. On March 14, 1992, the Russian weekly "Argumenty i Fakty" wrote that North Korea built a bomb test site about a year ago and that it did not explode any test bomb for fear of revealing its secret nuclear program. A classified CIA document states that North Korea already has nuclear bombs and an underground test site ready to go.
There are two points to consider here:
First, test explosion is not required for making the bomb. India conducted a test explosion in 1974 and became a nuclear power. Israel and South Africa joined India soon after even though neither had test-fired a bomb. Enriched uranium bombs are so easy to make and no testing is required. The problem is acquiring enough enriched uranium for the bomb. This requires enormous amount of electricity far beyond the capability of North Korea, but it is likely that North Korea found a chemical way to enrich uranium. A South Korean military expert said that North Korea's explosives have extremely high initial velocity of 900 m/sec. Such high explosives are used in gun type assembly of nuclear bombs. Such a device is basically a heavy gun with fissionable materials propelled to high speed, temperature and pressure for chain reactions. Gun type devices are much easier to trigger than spherical (implosion) devices that require advanced triggers. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a gun barrel assembly and the one dropped on Nagasaki was an implosion type. The latter was built after a test explosion whereas the former did not require any test. It is assumed that North Korean bombs are of gun barrel assembly and did not require test explosion.
Second, North Korea could rely on the test data gathered by other nations.
Pakistan began its nuclear program in 1970. Its then president Bhutto said: "Even if we had to live on grass, we must build the bomb." Pakistan acquired nuclear technology from Germany and England. It obtained bomb design data from China. Pakistan's first bomb was made in 1980. The Pakistani bomb test-fired on May 18, 1998 was a gun assembly uranium bomb. Today, Pakistan is known to have about 20 nuclear warheads.
It is assumed that Pakistan shared its nuclear data with North Korea in exchange for North Korea's missile technology. In October 1982, Pakistan and North Korea signed a science, technology and culture agreement. North Korea dispatched its scientists to Pakistan to observe its nuclear program.
From the armistice till 1980, the Korean peninsula was subjected to American nuclear threats and North Korean threats of invasion with conventional weapons. There were numerous touch-and-go war crises. In the face of the incessant nuclear war threat by the United States, North Korea's revolutionary offensive strategy evolved.
North Korea's military might surpasses that of South Korea. North Korea's offensive strategy is to mount massive nuclear strikes on the continental USA in the event of US attacks on North Korea. North Korea has military and civilian nuclear programs in parallel.
North Korea built its first nuclear bomb in 1986 or so. The main reason why North Korea keeps its nuclear arsenal secret is that it had developed its bombs on its own without any help from other nations and that the United States has decided to accept this fait accompli.
After building its first bomb in 1986, North Korea spent ten years to build underground nuclear facilities for military applications. By 1996, North Korea's emphasis turned to long-range missiles to carry the bombs. It is likely that North Korea has developed more advanced nuclear devices suitable for missile delivery.
It is well-known that the Big Five - The US, Russia, China, England and France - have nuclear bombs. These nations sit as the permanent members of the UN Security Council and control the world's political and military order. There are other nuclear nations: namely, North Korea, India, Pakistan, Israel and South Africa. These nations belong to the Little Five nuclear club.
Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy and Japan can go nuclear but the US nonproliferation policy prevents them from building their own bombs. Among the Little Five nations, India was the first to explode a test bomb in 1974 and conducted three tests in 1998. India announced its nuclear status on August 17, 1999. India was helped by Russia.
India's arch-enemy Pakistan developed its nuclear program with the tacit approval of the United States. It conducted an underground test in 1980.
Israel and South Africa were covertly aided by the United States. After the collapse of the Apartheid in South Africa, Nelson Mandela's black government made public of its nuclear program. Thus, of the Little Five nuclear nations, only North Korea and Israel remain silent on their nuclear program.
Israel neither confirms nor denies its membership to the nuclear club. The United States helped Israeli nuclear program and accepts its nuclear membership. For 30 years, the United States has pretended that it had no knowledge of the Israeli bomb. Israel is surrounded by hostile Arab nations and had to fight four wars of survival between 1948 and 1973. It is assumed that Israel exploded an atomic bomb in 1974. Since then Israeli military superiority has prevented the Arab nations from mounting another war. The Israeli bomb forced the Arabs to conference tables.
In the Far East, a similar situation prevailed in the 1980s. North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan were on the road of nuclear development. Even though the United States covertly aided its allies Pakistan, Israel and South Africa to the nuclear club membership, it refused to allow its client states Taiwan and South Korea to become nuclear.
The United States was firmly opposed to North Korea's nuclear program and attempted to scrap North Korea's nuclear program by military means. However, it was too late for the United States, for North Korea already had nuclear weapons and the United States was forced to back down from nuclear confrontation with North Korea.
NY-based 'Center for Korean Affairs'
BY ASTRID BARNET
-Special for Granma International
May 12 2003
HAVE you ever wondered how Adolph Hitler - a mediocre painter of Austrian origin - transformed himself into Germany's Fuhrer during the 1930s and 1940s?
The Nazi phenomenon was no historical coincidence, and far less a philosophical whim made real by just one man. Nazism had its followers, many of them exceptionally wealthy, veritable alchemists of the financial world back then.
According to research carried out over the last few years, Wall Street bankers (amongst others) financed Hitler's rise to power whilst making large profits at the same time. What is yet still more deplorable is the fact that relatives of the current U.S. president were amongst this group of individuals.
U.S. authors Webster G. Tarpley and Anton Cheitkin reveal in the recently published George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography that Prescott Bush (George W. Bush's grandfather) and other directors of the Union Banking Company (UBC) were Nazi collaborators.
The book relates how in 1922 - when national socialism was emerging - railroad impresario W. Averell Harriman traveled to Berlin and interviewed the Thyssen family with a view to founding a German-U.S. bank. The Thyssens were already behind-the-scenes owners of several financial institutions that allowed them to transfer their money from Germany to the Netherlands and from there onto the United States.
The banks in question were the August Thyssen Bank whose headquarters were located in Berlin; the Bank voor Handel (Netherlands) and the Union Banking Corporation (New York). At the beginning of the 1920s, one of the members of this family, Fritz Thyssen - author of I Paid Hitler - contributed some $25,000 USD to the recently formed German National Socialist Workers' Party, becoming the prime and most important financier of the Fuhrer in his ascent to power.
According to the book's authors, Thyssen was fascinated by Hitler, citing his talent as a public speaker and his ability to lead the masses. However, what impressed him most was the order that prevailed at his rallies and the almost military discipline of his followers.
And so, in 1931 Thyssen joined the Nazi party, becoming one of the most powerful members of the Nazi war machine.
At that time, the magnate presided over the German Steel Trust, a steel industry consortium founded by Clarence Dillon, one of Wall Street's most influential men. One of Dillon's most trustworthy collaborators was Samuel Bush: Prescott's father, George Senior's grandfather and great-grandfather of the current U.S. president George W. Bush.
In 1923, Harriman and the Thyssens decided to set up a bank and appointed George Herbert Walker - Prescott's father-in-law - as president. Later, in 1926, they established the Union Banking Corporation (UBC) with Prescott Bush at the helm. That same year, he was also named vice president and partner at Brown Brothers Harriman. Both firms allowed the Thyssens to send money to the United States from Germany via the Netherlands.
U.S. economist Victor Thorn has noted that although a large number of other corporations aided the Nazis (such as Standard Oil and Rockefeller's Chase Bank, as well as U.S. automobile manufacturers) Prescott Bush's interests were much more profound and sinister.
Thorn adds that UBC became a secret channel to protect Nazi capital leaving Germany for the United States via the Netherlands. When the Nazis needed to retrieve their funds, Brown Brothers Harriman sent them directly to Germany.
In this way, UBC received money from the Netherlands and Brown Brothers Harriman sent it back. And who was on the executive of both of these companies? Prescott Bush himself, the Nazis' first money launderer.
In their book, Tarpley and Cheitkin explain that in this way a significant part of the Bush family's financial base is related to supporting and aiding Adolph Hitler. Therefore, the current U.S. president, just like his father (former CIA director, vice president and president) reached the peak of the U.S. political hierarchy thanks to his great-grandfather and grandfather and generally his entire family, who financially aided and encouraged the Nazis.
Some time later, in October 1942, the U.S. authorities confiscated Nazi bank funds from the New York UBC, whose then president was Prescott. The firm was condemned as a financial and commercial collaborator with the enemy and all its assets were seized.
Later, the U.S. government also ordered the seizure of the assets of a further two leading financial agencies directed by Prescott through the accounts of the Harriman banking institution: the Holland-America Trading Corporation (a U.S.-Dutch commercial firm) and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation.
Then on November 11, 1942, an embargo was imposed on the Silesian-American Corporation - another firm headed by Bush and Walker - under the same Trading with the Enemy Act.
However, in 1951, the embargo was lifted and the enterprising businessman recovered some $1.5 million USD, earmarked for new investments largely to swell the Bush family's patrimony.
To this should be added a resum of files belonging to Dutch and U.S. information services confirming the direct links between Prescott Bush, the German Thyssen family and the blood money of a group of rich U.S. families from the Second World War.
Tarpley and Cheitkin affirm that the great financial crash of 1929-1931 affected the United States, Germany and Britain, weakening their respective governments. At the same time, Prescott Bush became even more diligent, still more desirous of doing everything that was necessary to safeguard his place in the world. It was during this crisis that some members of the Anglo-U.S wealthy class supported the installation of Hitler's regime in Germany.
To sum up, the authors categorically state that the Bush family's fortune arose as a result of its unconditional support for Adolph Hitler's political project.
The UBC, under Prescott Bush's direction and with the long-term cooperation of Fritz Thyssen's German Steel Trust participated in the emergence, preparation and financing of the Nazi war machine through the manufacture of armored vehicles, fighter planes, guns and explosives.
The Bush family's habit of dominating territories and wealth is nothing new. Their fascist genes were generated during the 1930s. Therefore defining the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and the threats to other countries as a continuance of blitzkreig offensives as fascist is no blunder. Neither is convening an anti-fascist front a rhetorical exercise.
Nizar Khazraji, a prominent Iraqi general who defected to the West, was assassinated Monday on his way to attend a U.S.-called meeting of opposition groups in the southern city of Nassiriya.
Khazraji was sometimes mentioned as a possible successor to Saddam Hussein. In February last year, London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat quoted opposition sources in Syria as saying the US had chosen Khazraji to run Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam.
The CIA was reported to have helped him escape to Kuwait from house arrest in Denmark, where prosecutors were investigating his alleged role in gas attacks on the Iraqi Kurds.
A former Iraqi military chief-of-staff, who turned against Saddam in 1996, he has publicly declared that he was prepared to lead a rebel army into Iraq. "All real Iraqis want to overthrow this regime and I am one of them," he declared from his home in Denmark.
General Khazraji first came to prominence during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, and by the end of that decade had been made head of the country's armed forces. He claimed to have warned Saddam during the Gulf War that the invasion of Kuwait had been a mistake.
He subsequently fell from favour and in 1995 fled to Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, travelling on from there to Jordan. In 1998, he applied for political asylum in Denmark and since the late 1990s he has lived there.
In late 2001, Danish police launched an investigation into allegations that General Khazraji had been involved in the poison gas attack on the Kurdish town of Halabjah in March 1988.
The general has rejected these allegations, dismissing them as black propaganda spread by Baghdad in order to discredit him.
Saturday April 12, 2003
War against Iraq was a foregone conclusion months before the first shot was fired, the chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has claimed.
In a scathing attack on Britain and the US, Mr Blix accused them of planning the war "well in advance" and of "fabricating" evidence against Iraq to justify their campaign.
Letting rip after months of frustration, he told the Spanish daily El Pais: "There is evidence that this war was planned well in advance. Sometimes this raises doubts about their attitude to the [weapons] inspections."
Mr Blix said Iraq was paying a "a very high price in terms of human lives and the destruction of a country" when the threat of banned weapons could have been contained by UN inspections.
The 74-year Swedish diplomat made clear that he believes he was misled by President Bush. At a White House meeting last October Mr Bush backed the work of Unmovic, the UN inspection team.
But at the time Mr Blix knew "there were people within the Bush administration who were sceptical and who were working on engineering regime change". By the start of March the hawks in Washington and London were growing impatient.
He said he believed that finding weapons of mass destruction had been relegated as an aim and the main objective had become the toppling of Saddam Hussein.
By Richard Sale
UPI Intelligence Correspondent - Published 4/10/2003 7:30 PM
U.S. forces in Baghdad might now be searching high and low for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but in the past Saddam was seen by U.S. intelligence services as a bulwark of anti-communism and they used him as their instrument for more than 40 years, according to former U.S. intelligence diplomats and intelligence officials.
United Press International has interviewed almost a dozen former U.S. diplomats, British scholars and former U.S. intelligence officials to piece together the following account. The CIA declined to comment on the report.
While many have thought that Saddam first became involved with U.S. intelligence agencies at the start of the September 1980 Iran-Iraq war, his first contacts with U.S. officials date back to 1959, when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad tasked with assassinating then Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim.
In July 1958, Qasim had overthrown the Iraqi monarchy in what one former U.S. diplomat, who asked not to be identified, described as "a horrible orgy of bloodshed."
According to current and former U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Iraq was then regarded as a key buffer and strategic asset in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. For example, in the mid-1950s, Iraq was quick to join the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact which was to defend the region and whose members included Turkey, Britain, Iran and Pakistan.
Little attention was paid to Qasim's bloody and conspiratorial regime until his sudden decision to withdraw from the pact in 1959, an act that "freaked everybody out" according to a former senior U.S. State Department official.
Washington watched in marked dismay as Qasim began to buy arms from the Soviet Union and put his own domestic communists into ministry positions of "real power," according to this official. The domestic instability of the country prompted CIA Director Allan Dulles to say publicly that Iraq was "the most dangerous spot in the world."
In the mid-1980s, Miles Copeland, a veteran CIA operative, told UPI the CIA had enjoyed "close ties" with Qasim's ruling Baath Party, just as it had close connections with the intelligence service of Egyptian leader Gamel Abd Nassar. In a recent public statement, Roger Morris, a former National Security Council staffer in the 1970s, confirmed this claim, saying that the CIA had chosen the authoritarian and anti-communist Baath Party "as its instrument."
According to another former senior State Department official, Saddam, while only in his early 20s, became a part of a U.S. plot to get rid of Qasim. According to this source, Saddam was installed in an apartment in Baghdad on al-Rashid Street directly opposite Qasim's office in Iraq's Ministry of Defense, to observe Qasim's movements.
Adel Darwish, Middle East expert and author of "Unholy Babylon," said the move was done "with full knowledge of the CIA," and that Saddam's CIA handler was an Iraqi dentist working for CIA and Egyptian intelligence. U.S. officials separately confirmed Darwish's account.
Darwish said that Saddam's paymaster was Capt. Abdel Maquid Farid, the assistant military attaché at the Egyptian Embassy who paid for the apartment from his own personal account. Three former senior U.S. officials have confirmed that this is accurate.
The assassination was set for Oct. 7, 1959, but it was completely botched. Accounts differ. One former CIA official said that the 22-year-old Saddam lost his nerve and began firing too soon, killing Qasim's driver and only wounding Qasim in the shoulder and arm. Darwish told UPI that one of the assassins had bullets that did not fit his gun and that another had a hand grenade that got stuck in the lining of his coat.
"It bordered on farce," a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. But Qasim, hiding on the floor of his car, escaped death, and Saddam, whose calf had been grazed by a fellow would-be assassin, escaped to Tikrit, thanks to CIA and Egyptian intelligence agents, several U.S. government officials said.
Saddam then crossed into Syria and was transferred by Egyptian intelligence agents to Beirut, according to Darwish and former senior CIA officials. While Saddam was in Beirut, the CIA paid for Saddam's apartment and put him through a brief training course, former CIA officials said. The agency then helped him get to Cairo, they said.
One former U.S. government official, who knew Saddam at the time, said that even then Saddam "was known as having no class. He was a thug -- a cutthroat."
In Cairo, Saddam was installed in an apartment in the upper class neighborhood of Dukki and spent his time playing dominos in the Indiana Café, watched over by CIA and Egyptian intelligence operatives, according to Darwish and former U.S. intelligence officials.
One former senior U.S. government official said: "In Cairo, I often went to Groppie Café at Emad Eldine Pasha Street, which was very posh, very upper class. Saddam would not have fit in there. The Indiana was your basic dive."
But during this time Saddam was making frequent visits to the American Embassy where CIA specialists such as Miles Copeland and CIA station chief Jim Eichelberger were in residence and knew Saddam, former U.S. intelligence officials said.
Saddam's U.S. handlers even pushed Saddam to get his Egyptian handlers to raise his monthly allowance, a gesture not appreciated by Egyptian officials since they knew of Saddam's American connection, according to Darwish. His assertion was confirmed by former U.S. diplomat in Egypt at the time.
In February 1963 Qasim was killed in a Baath Party coup. Morris claimed recently that the CIA was behind the coup, which was sanctioned by President John F. Kennedy, but a former very senior CIA official strongly denied this.
"We were absolutely stunned. We had guys running around asking what the hell had happened," this official said.
But the agency quickly moved into action. Noting that the Baath Party was hunting down Iraq's communist, the CIA provided the submachine gun-toting Iraqi National Guardsmen with lists of suspected communists who were then jailed, interrogated, and summarily gunned down, according to former U.S. intelligence officials with intimate knowledge of the executions.
Many suspected communists were killed outright, these sources said. Darwish told UPI that the mass killings, presided over by Saddam, took place at Qasr al-Nehayat, literally, the Palace of the End.
A former senior U.S. State Department official told UPI: "We were frankly glad to be rid of them. You ask that they get a fair trial? You have to get kidding. This was serious business."
A former senior CIA official said: "It was a bit like the mysterious killings of Iran's communists just after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979. All 4,000 of his communists suddenly got killed."
British scholar Con Coughlin, author of "Saddam: King of Terror," quotes Jim Critchfield, then a senior Middle East agency official, as saying the killing of Qasim and the communists was regarded "as a great victory." A former long-time covert U.S. intelligence operative and friend of Critchfield said: "Jim was an old Middle East hand. He wasn't sorry to see the communists go at all. Hey, we were playing for keeps."
Saddam, in the meantime, became head of al-Jihaz a-Khas, the secret intelligence apparatus of the Baath Party.
The CIA/Defense Intelligence Agency relation with Saddam intensified after the start of the Iran-Iraq war in September of 1980. During the war, the CIA regularly sent a team to Saddam to deliver battlefield intelligence obtained from Saudi AWACS surveillance aircraft to aid the effectiveness of Iraq's armed forces, according to a former DIA official, part of a U.S. interagency intelligence group.
This former official said that he personally had signed off on a document that shared U.S. satellite intelligence with both Iraq and Iran in an attempt to produce a military stalemate. "When I signed it, I thought I was losing my mind," the former official told UPI.
A former CIA official said that Saddam had assigned a top team of three senior officers from the Estikhbarat, Iraq's military intelligence, to meet with the Americans.
According to Darwish, the CIA and DIA provided military assistance to Saddam's ferocious February 1988 assault on Iranian positions in the al-Fao peninsula by blinding Iranian radars for three days.
The Saddam-U.S. intelligence alliance of convenience came to an end at 2 a.m. Aug. 2, 1990, when 100,000 Iraqi troops, backed by 300 tanks, invaded its neighbor, Kuwait. America's one-time ally had become its bitterest enemy.
Mar 26 2003
TODAY is a day of shame for the British military as it declares the Iraqi city of Basra, with a stricken population of 600,000, a "military target".
You will not read or hear those words in the establishment media that claims to speak for Britain.
But they are true. With Basra, shame is now our signature, forged by Blair and Bush.
Having destroyed its water and power supplies, cut off food supply routes and having failed to crack its human defences, they are now preparing to lay siege to Iraq's second city which is more than 40 per cent children.
What an ignominious moment in British history. Here is an impoverished country under attack by a superpower, the United States, which has unimaginable wealth and the world's most destructive weapons, and its "coalition" accomplice, Britain, which boasts one of the world's best "professional" armies.
Believing their own propaganda, the military brass has been stunned by the Iraqi resistance.
They have tried to belittle the militia defending Basra with lurid stories that its fighters are killing each other.
The truth is that the Iraqis are fighting like lions to defend not a tyrant but their homeland. It is a truth the overwhelming majority of decent Britons will admire.
The historical comparison Tony Blair and his propagandists fear is that of the British defending themselves against invasion. That happened 60 years ago and now "we" are the rapacious invaders.
Yesterday, Blair said that 400,000 Iraqi children had died in the past five years from malnutrition and related causes. He said "huge stockpiles of humanitarian aid" and clean water awaited them in Kuwait, if only the Iraqi regime would allow safe passage.
In fact, voluminous evidence, including that published by the United Nations Children's Fund, makes clear that the main reason these children have died is an enduring siege, a 12-year embargo driven by America and Britain.
As of last July, $5.4billion worth of humanitarian supplies, approved by the UN and paid for by the Iraqi government, were blocked by Washington, with the Blair government's approval. The former assistant secretary general of the UN, Denis Halliday, who was sent to Iraq to set up the "oil for food programme", described the effects of the embargo as "nothing less than genocide". Similar words have been used by his successor, Hans Von Sponeck.
Both men resigned in protest, saying the embargo merely reinforced the power of Saddam.
Both called Blair a liar.
And now Blair's troops are firing their wire-guided missiles to "soften up" Basra.
I have walked the city's streets, along a road blown to pieces by a US missile. The casualties were children, of course, because children are everywhere. I held a handkerchief over my face as I stood in a school playground with a teacher and several hundred malnourished youngsters.
The dust blew in from the southern battlefields of the 1991 Gulf War, which have never been cleaned up because the US and British governments have denied Iraq the specialist equipment.
The dust, Dr Jawad Al-Ali told me, carries "the seeds of our death". In the children's wards of Basra's main hospital, deaths from a range of hitherto unseen cancers are common and specialists have little doubt that up to half the population of southern Iraq will die from cancers linked to the use of a weapon of mass destruction used by the Americans and British - uranium tipped shells and missiles.
ONCE again, the Americans are deploying what Professor Doug Rokke, a former US Army physicist, calls "a form of nuclear weapon that contaminates everything and everyone".
Today, each round fired by US tanks contains 4,500 grams of solid uranium, whose particles, breathed or ingested, can cause cancer.
This, and the use by both the Allies of new kinds of cluster bombs, is being covered up.
Once again, the British public is being denied the reality of war.
Images of bandaged children in hospital wards are appearing on TV but you do not see the result of a Tornado's cluster bombing.
You are not being shown children scalped by shrapnel, with legs reduced to bloody pieces of string.
Such images are "not acceptable", because they will disturb viewers - and the authorities do not want that. These "unseen" images are the truth. Iraqi parents have to look at their mutilated children, so why shouldn't those of us, in whose name they were slaughtered, see what they see?
Why shouldn't we share their pain? Why shouldn't we see the true nature of this criminal invasion?
Other wars were sanitised, allowing them to be repeated.
If you have satellite TV, try to find the Al Jazeera channel, which has distinguished itself with its coverage. When the Americans bombed Afghanistan, one of their "smart" bombs destroyed the Al Jazeera office in Kabul. Few believe it was an accident. Rather, it was a testimony to the channel's independent journalism.
Remember, it is not those who oppose this war who need to justify themselves, regardless of Blair's calls to "support our troops". There is only one way to support them - bring them home without delay.
In 1932, Iraqis threw out their British colonial rulers. In 1958, they got rid of the Hashemite monarchy.
Iraqis have shown they can overthrow dictators against the odds. So why have they not been able to throw out Saddam?
Because the US and Britain armed him and propped him up while it suited them, making sure that when they tired of him, they would be the only alternative to his rule and the profiteers of his nation's resources. Imperialism has always functioned like that.
The "new Iraq", as Blair calls it, will have many models, such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, all of them American conquests and American ruled until Washington allowed a vicious dictatorship to take over.
Saddam only came to power after the Americans helped install his Ba'ath Party in 1979. "That was my favourite coup," said the CIA officer in charge.
Keep in mind the cynicism behind these truths when you next hear Blair's impassioned insincerity - and when you glimpse, if you can, the "unacceptable" images of children killed and mangled in your name, and in the cause of what the Prime Minister calls "our simple patriotism".
It's the kind of patriotism, wrote Tolstoy, "that is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason and conscience."
OneWorld March 21, 2003
The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq violates the basic rules of the United Nations Charter requiring countries to exhaust all peaceful means of maintaining global security before taking military action, and permitting the use of force in self-defense only in response to actual or imminent attack, two U.S. legal groups said Thursday.
The U.N. Security Council's refusal to approve a resolution proposed by the United States, Britain and Spain clarified that the weapons inspection process initiated by Security Council Resolution 1441 last November should have been permitted to continue before military action could be authorized, added The Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy (LCNP) and the Western States Legal Foundation (WSLF).
The two groups, the U.S. affiliates of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), supported an open letter signed by 31 Canadian international law professors released Wednesday that called a U.S. attack against Iraq "a fundamental breach of international law (that) would seriously threaten the integrity of the international legal order that has been in place since the end of the Second World War."
Such an action "would simply return us to an international order based on imperial ambition and coercive force," they added.
The legalities of the U.S. attack on Iraq have sparked considerable debate since Washington, Britain, and Spain decided to pull their proposed resolution from consideration by the Security Council in the face of almost-certain defeat by a majority of members, including the threat of vetoes cast by permanent Council members France and Russia.
By withdrawing the resolution and issuing an ultimatum to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to leave the country or face attack--demands that have not been included in any Security Council resolution--Washington asserted its sovereign right to self-defense and its intention to enforce previous resolutions, including 1441, which called for Iraqi disarmament.
Some international lawyers, such as Yale University's Ruth Wedgwood, have claimed that the previous resolutions gave Washington adequate legal cover to unilaterally enforce disarmament, and that precedent for circumventing the Security Council was established when Washington and its NATO allies launched their air campaign against Serbia in 1999 without Council authorization.
Another prominent expert, Anne-Marie Slaughter, argued that while technically "illegal," Washington's decision to take military action without Council backing might still be "legitimate."
Also citing the Serbia precedent, Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, argued that Washington could still gain U.N. approval if its forces found "irrefutable evidence" that the Iraqi regime possessed weapons of mass destruction.
"Even without such evidence, the United States and its allies can justify their intervention if the Iraqi people welcome their coming and if they turn immediately back to the United Nations to help rebuild the country," she wrote in the New York Times. "Even for international lawyers, insisting on formal legality in this case may be counterproductive," she said, arguing that supporters of international law should accept that the United Nations is a "political institution as well as a legal one."
But LCNP President Peter Weiss strongly denounced that reasoning, calling it "shocking beyond belief, coming from the current president of the American Society of International Law."
LCNP and WSLF argued that Washington could not use the right of self-defense to start military action unless it was actually attacked or was threatened by an immediate and unavoidable attack. In the absence of those circumstances, according to WSLF Program Director Andrew Lichterman, only the Security Council may approve such a U.S. attack. "Because Iraq has not attacked any state, nor is there any showing whatever of an imminent attack by Iraq, self-defense cannot justify U.S. war on Iraq," he said.
The U.S. administration's attempt to expand the concept of self-defense to authorize preventive attacks against states based on potential future threats "would destabilize the present system of U.N. Charter restraints on use of force," Lichterman added.
Bruce Kent Friday, 21 March 2003
BOB WOODWARD concludes his new book Bush at War by citing an alarming declaration by a group of American Special Forces and CIA paramilitary personnel in Afghanistan: "We will export death and violence to the four corners of the Earth in defence of our great nation." This illustrates the blind nihilism of the American crusade against terrorism into which Australia has been manoeuvred by its Prime Minister.
Woodward's privileged access to the records of the Bush Administration has enabled him to document how this crusade was triggered by a conservative populist political leader with little understanding of international affairs who, like John Howard, wanted to divert attention from domestic problems and ward off impending electoral defeat by projecting himself as a "war" leader.
Bush's crucial contribution in the aftermath of September 11 was to transform a proportionate and specifically
directed retaliatory action against the perpetrators of September 11 into an open-ended "war" against both terrorist groups of all descriptions and individuals and states who support them, either actively or passively.
According to Woodward, this "incredibly broad commitment" was proposed by Bush, with the assistance of his National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and his speech-writers, without consulting Vice-President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell or Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The President's notion of what amounted to a crusade against "evil" was quickly given a geopolitical cutting edge by hawkish advisers such as Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who would stop at nothing to make the world strategically "safe" for the United States and Israel.
"It's not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable," Wolfowitz declared at a Pentagon press briefing, "but removing their sanctuaries, removing their support systems, (and) ending states who sponsor terrorism".
The nub of the Bush "doctrine", to which Australia's leaders subscribe - notwithstanding their lip-service to international law - is that the United States has an unfettered right to launch a pre-emptive war against any state it considers even an indirect threat to its national security.
This is the assumption underlying its war on Afghanistan and its invasion of Iraq. The American Administration's belated quest late last year for United Nations approval for its war against Saddam was prompted solely by its concern that popular uneasiness about its unilateralism might affect the outcome of the tightly contested congressional elections of November 2002.
Once his multilateralist charade had helped the Republicans to gain control of the Senate, Bush resumed his unilateralist course without genuine regard for the collective security system of the UN, which authorises military sanctions only in response to actual aggression or an imminent threat to peace.
Far from being part of a road map to peace, the unilateralist doctrine of pre-emptive war is a short cut to international anarchy.
Although the Bush Administration has adopted the Manichaean (good v evil) rhetoric of the Truman Doctrine that formalised the Cold War in 1947, its conduct of the "war" on terror differs profoundly from Truman's policies in the late 1940s.
Bush views the world primarily through the eyes of the Pentagon and seeks to preserve international order and guarantee American security by spending billions of dollars on a theatre missile-defence system designed to make his country into an impregnable fortress.
Truman, on the other hand, was deeply suspicious of the defence establishment, resisted increases in military expenditure, and struggled to head off a nuclear-arms race after Hiroshima by vesting control of the military facets of nuclear energy in an agency of the UN.
Whereas Bush has scant regard for the "striped pants" of the State Department, Truman worked closely with distinguished Secretaries of State such as Dean Acheson and George Marshall.
Those two are revered for engineering the reconstruction and pacification of Europe through the Marshall Plan, which was inspired by the perception that economic deprivation and injustice are the underlying sources of political extremism and international disorder.
An intervention of this type, which would be far more helpful to the Middle East than the mindless and provocative application of military force, is remote from the radar screens of the "beggar thy neighbour" Bush Administration, whose expenditure on foreign aid, measured as a percentage of gross domestic product, is currently somewhere between a tenth and a twentieth of that of the United States under Truman.
Under wiser, more generous and outward-looking leadership the American and Australian people have frequently demonstrated their capacity for constructive and humane international behaviour.
They are currently being led astray by opportunist politicians who, with the assistance of the majority of the media, have whipped up popular fears and played on patriotic feelings largely in order to secure their short-term political survival.
Bruce Kent is the author of The Spoils of War (Clarendon Press, Oxford). He is a Visiting Fellow in the National Europe Centre at the Australian National University, where he is completing a book on the origins of the Cold War entitled The Price of Peace.
March 20, 2003
BY AMBROSE EVANS-PRITCHARD
BRUSSELS, Belgium--Delegates from six countries, including Britain, have had their telephones bugged--possibly for as long as eight years--in a spying operation at the headquarters of the European Union.
EU leaders are scheduled to meet at a crisis summit in the building today.
EU officials said the telephones of Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Austria had all been tapped, but dismissed speculation in the French media that the CIA was responsible.
"We do not know who is behind it. I don't know who was on the other end of the line," EU spokesman Dominique-Georges Marro said.
The security lapse was discovered during a routine check by EU staff on Feb. 28.
The American mission to the EU has ''received no communication about the investigation from the EU,'' a spokesman for the U.S. mission said.
Marro said the EU ''found anomalies in the telephone lines'' during the security sweeps. The bugs had not been announced because investigators thought they had a better chance of catching the culprits if the find was kept secret.
Marro said only a small number of lines had been affected in the sprawling glass-and-marble Justus Lipsius building, but declined to say the type or how many were found.
The Swedish ambassador, Sven-Olaf Petersson, said there were signs that the eavesdropping may have been built into the system as long ago as 1995.
"They were very sophisticated installations, which only a few intelligence services are able to install," he said.
EU diplomats were speculating on whether the culprit could be an EU member state, or possibly an East European country wanting secrets on enlargement policy.
Fingers were pointing at Paris and London, which are both viewed as cunning enough to bug their own lines to disguise the operation. But the Russians, Israelis and Chinese were also being floated as candidates.
The granite Justus Lipsius building, where ambassadors and ministers meet to approve EU laws, is known for its lax security practices.
George Papandreou, the Greek foreign minister and spokesman for the EU's presidency, said the spy operation was a waste of effort.
"To all those who feel that it is necessary to tap our phones, we say that Europe is a very transparent organization," he said. "They shouldn't go to such lengths to try to find out information--we can provide it for them."
Daily Telegraph, with AP contributing
Issue of 2003-03-17 Posted 2003-03-10
At the peak of his deal-making activities, in the nineteen-seventies, the Saudi-born businessman Adnan Khashoggi brokered billions of dollars in arms and aircraft sales for the Saudi royal family, earning hundreds of millions in commissions and fees. Though never convicted of wrongdoing, he was repeatedly involved in disputes with federal prosecutors and with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in recent years he has been in litigation in Thailand and Los Angeles, among other places, concerning allegations of stock manipulation and fraud. During the Reagan Administration, Khashoggi was one of the middlemen between Oliver North, in the White House, and the mullahs in Iran in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal. Khashoggi subsequently claimed that he lost ten million dollars that he had put up to obtain embargoed weapons for Iran which were to be bartered (with Presidential approval) for American hostages. The scandals of those times seemed to feed off each other: a congressional investigation revealed that Khashoggi had borrowed much of the money for the weapons from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (B.C.C.I.), whose collapse, in 1991, defrauded thousands of depositors and led to years of inquiry and litigation.
Khashoggi is still brokering. In January of this year, he arranged a private lunch, in France, to bring together Harb Saleh al-Zuhair, a Saudi industrialist whose family fortune includes extensive holdings in construction, electronics, and engineering companies throughout the Middle East, and Richard N. Perle, the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, who is one of the most outspoken and influential American advocates of war with Iraq.
The Defense Policy Board is a Defense Department advisory group composed primarily of highly respected former government officials, retired military officers, and academics. Its members, who serve without pay, include former national-security advisers, Secretaries of Defense, and heads of the C.I.A. The board meets several times a year at the Pentagon to review and assess the countrys strategic defense policies.
Perle is also a managing partner in a venture-capital company called Trireme Partners L.P., which was registered in November, 2001, in Delaware. Triremes main business, according to a two-page letter that one of its representatives sent to Khashoggi last November, is to invest in companies dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defense. The letter argued that the fear of terrorism would increase the demand for such products in Europe and in countries like Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
The letter mentioned the firms government connections prominently: Three of Triremes Management Group members currently advise the U.S. Secretary of Defense by serving on the U.S. Defense Policy Board, and one of Triremes principals, Richard Perle, is chairman of that Board. The two other policy-board members associated with Trireme are Henry Kissinger, the former Secretary of State (who is, in fact, only a member of Triremes advisory group and is not involved in its management), and Gerald Hillman, an investor and a close business associate of Perles who handles matters in Triremes New York office. The letter said that forty-five million dollars had already been raised, including twenty million dollars from Boeing; the purpose, clearly, was to attract more investors, such as Khashoggi and Zuhair.
Perle served as a foreign-policy adviser in George W. Bushs Presidential campaignhe had been an Assistant Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan but he chose not to take a senior position in the Administration. In mid-2001, however, he accepted an offer from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to chair the Defense Policy Board, a then obscure group that had been created by the Defense Department in 1985. Its members (there are around thirty of them) may be outside the government, but they have access to classified information and to senior policymakers, and give advice not only on strategic policy but also on such matters as weapons procurement. Most of the boards proceedings are confidential.
As chairman of the board, Perle is considered to be a special government employee and therefore subject to a federal Code of Conduct. Those rules bar a special employee from participating in an official capacity in any matter in which he has a financial interest. One of the general rules is that you dont take advantage of your federal position to help yourself financially in any way, a former government attorney who helped formulate the Code of Conduct told me. The point, the attorney added, is to protect government processes from actual or apparent conflicts.
Advisory groups like the Defense Policy Board enable knowledgeable people outside government to bring their skills and expertise to bear, in confidence, on key policy issues. Because such experts are often tied to the defense industry, however, there are inevitable conflicts. One board member told me that most members are active in finance and business, and on at least one occasion a member has left a meeting when a military or an intelligence product in which he has an active interest has come under discussion.
Four members of the Defense Policy Board told me that the board, which met most recently on February 27th and 28th, had not been informed of Perles involvement in Trireme. One board member, upon being told of Trireme and Perles meeting with Khashoggi, exclaimed, Oh, get out of here. Hes the chairman! If you had a story about me setting up a company for homeland security, and Ive put people on the board with whom Im doing that business, Id be hada reference to Gerald Hillman, who had almost no senior policy or military experience in government before being offered a post on the policy board. Seems to me this is at the edge of or off the ethical charts. I think it would stink to high heaven.
Hillman, a former McKinsey consultant, stunned at least one board member at the February meeting when he raised questions about the validity of Iraqs existing oil contracts. Hillman said the old contracts are bad news; he said we should kick out the Russians and the French, the board member told me. This was a serious conversation. Wed become the brokers. Then wed be selling futures in the Iraqi oil company. I said to myself, Oh, man. Dont go down that road. Hillman denies making such statements at the meeting.
Larry Noble, the executive director of the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit research organization, said of Perles Trireme involvement, Its not illegal, but it presents an appearance of a conflict. Its enough to raise questions about the advice hes giving to the Pentagon and why people in business are dealing with him. Noble added, The question is whether hes trading off his advisory-committee relationship. If its a selling point for the firm hes involved with, that means hes a closerthe guy you bring in who doesnt have to talk about money, but hes the reason youre doing the deal.
Perles association with Trireme was not his first exposure to the link between high finance and high- level politics. He was born in New York City, graduated from the University of Southern California in 1964, and spent a decade in Senate-staff jobs before leaving government in 1980, to work for a military-consulting firm. The next year, he was back in government, as Assistant Secretary of Defense. In 1983, he was the subject of a New York Times investigation into an allegation that he recommended that the Army buy weapons from an Israeli company from whose owners he had, two years earlier, accepted a fifty-thousand-dollar fee. Perle later acknowledged that he had accepted the fee, but vigorously denied any wrongdoing. He had not recused himself in the matter, he explained, because the fee was for work he had done before he took the Defense Department job. He added, The ultimate issue, of course, was a question of procurement, and I am not a procurement officer. He was never officially accused of any ethical violations in the matter. Perle served in the Pentagon until 1987 and then became deeply involved in the lobbying and business worlds. Among other corporate commitments, he now serves as a director of a company doing business with the federal government: the Autonomy Corporation, a British firm that recently won a major federal contract in homeland security. When I asked him about that contract, Perle told me that there was no possible conflict, because the contract was obtained through competitive bidding, and I never talked to anybody about it.
Under Perles leadership, the policy board has become increasingly influential. He has used it as a bully pulpit, from which to advocate the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the use of preëmptive military action to combat terrorism. Perle had many allies for this approach, such as Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, but there was intense resistance throughout the bureaucracymost notably at the State Department. Preëmption has since emerged as the overriding idea behind the Administrations foreign policy. One former high-level intelligence official spoke with awe of Perles ability to radically change government policy even though he is a private citizen. Its an impressive achievement that an outsider can have so much influence, and has even been given an institutional base for his influence.
Perles authority in the Bush Administration is buttressed by close association, politically and personally, with many important Administration figures, including Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, who is the Pentagons third-ranking civilian official. In 1989, Feith created International Advisors Incorporated, a lobbying firm whose main client was the government of Turkey. The firm retained Perle as an adviser between 1989 and 1994. Feith got his current position, according to a former high-level Defense Department official, only after Perle personally intervened with Rumsfeld, who was skeptical about him. Feith was directly involved in the strategic planning and conduct of the military operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan; he now runs various aspects of the planning of the Iraqi war and its aftermath. He and Perle share the same views on many foreign-policy issues. Both have been calling for Saddam Husseins removal for years, long before September 11th. They also worked together, in 1996, to prepare a list of policy initiatives for Benjamin Netanyahu, shortly after his election as the Israeli Prime Minister. The suggestions included working toward regime change in Iraq. Feith and Perle were energetic supporters of Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial leader of the anti-Saddam Iraqi National Congress, and have struggled with officials at the State Department and the C.I.A. about the future of Iraq.
Perle has also been an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, and Americans who are in its pay. He has often publicly rebuked former American government officials who are connected to research centers and foundations that are funded by the Saudis, and told the National Review last summer, I think its a disgrace. Theyre the people who appear on television, they write op-ed pieces. The Saudis are a major source of the problem we face with terrorism. That would be far more obvious to people if it werent for this community of former diplomats effectively working for this foreign government. In August, the Saudi government was dismayed when the Washington Post revealed that the Defense Policy Board had received a briefing on July 10th from a Rand Corporation analyst named Laurent Murawiec, who depicted Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States, and recommended that the Bush Administration give the Saudi government an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its financial assets in the United States and its oil fields. Murawiec, it was later found, is a former editor of the Executive Intelligence Review, a magazine controlled by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., the perennial Presidential candidate, conspiracy theorist, and felon. According to Time, it was Perle himself who had invited Murawiec to make his presentation.
Perles hostility to the politics of the Saudi government did not stop him from meeting with potential Saudi investors for Trireme. Khashoggi and Zuhair told me that they understood that one of Triremes objectives was to seek the help of influential Saudis to win homeland-security contracts with the Saudi royal family for the businesses it financed. The profits for such contracts could be substantial. Saudi Arabia has spent nearly a billion dollars to survey and demarcate its eight-hundred- and-fifty-mile border with Yemen, and the second stage of that process will require billions more. Trireme apparently turned to Adnan Khashoggi for help.
Last month, I spoke with Khashoggi, who is sixty- seven and is recovering from open-heart surgery, at his penthouse apartment, overlooking the Mediterranean in Cannes. I was the intermediary, he said. According to Khashoggi, he was first approached by a Trireme official named Christopher Harriman. Khashoggi said that Harriman, an American businessman whom he knew from his jet-set days, when both men were fixtures on the European social scene, sent him the Trireme pitch letter. (Harriman has not answered my calls.) Khashoggi explained that before Christmas he and Harb Zuhair, the Saudi industrialist, had met with Harriman and Gerald Hillman in Paris and had discussed the possibility of a large investment in Trireme.
Zuhair was interested in more than the financial side; he also wanted to share his views on war and peace with someone who had influence with the Bush Administration. Though a Saudi, he had been born in Iraq, and he hoped that a negotiated, step by step solution could be found to avoid war. Zuhair recalls telling Harriman and Hillman, If we have peace, it would be easy to raise a hundred million. We will bring development to the region. Zuhairs hope, Khashoggi told me, was to combine opportunities for peace with opportunities for investment. According to Khashoggi, Hillman and Harriman said that such a meeting could be arranged. Perle emerged, by virtue of his position on the policy board, as a natural catch; he was the hook, Khashoggi said, for obtaining the investment from Zuhair. Khashoggi said that he agreed to try to assemble potential investors for a private lunch with Perle.
The lunch took place on January 3rd at a seaside restaurant in Marseilles. (Perle has a vacation home in the South of France.) Those who attended the lunch differ about its purpose. According to both Khashoggi and Zuhair, there were two items on the agenda. The first was to give Zuhair a chance to propose a peaceful alternative to war with Iraq; Khashoggi said that he and Perle knew that such an alternative was far-fetched, but Zuhair had recently returned from a visit to Baghdad, and was eager to talk about it. The second, more important item, according to Khashoggi and Zuhair, was to pave the way for Zuhair to put together a group of ten Saudi businessmen who would invest ten million dollars each in Trireme.
It was normal for us to see Perle, Khashoggi told me. We in the Middle East are accustomed to politicians who use their offices for whatever business they want. I organized the lunch for the purpose of Harb Zuhair to put his language to Perle. Perle politely listened, and the lunch was over. Zuhair, in a telephone conversation with me, recalled that Perle had made it clear at the lunch that he was above the money. He said he was more involved in politics, and the business is through the company Trireme. Perle, throughout the lunch, stuck to his idea that we have to get rid of Saddam, Zuhair said. As of early March, to the knowledge of Zuhair, no Saudi money had yet been invested in Trireme.
In my first telephone conversation with Gerald Hillman, in mid-February, before I knew of the involvement of Khashoggi and Zuhair, he assured me that Trireme had nothing to do with the Saudis. I dont know what you can do with them, he said. What we saw on September 11th was a grotesque manifestation of their ideology. Americans believe that the Saudis are supporting terrorism. We have no investment from them, or with them. (Last week, he acknowledged that he had met with Khashoggi and Zuhair, but said that the meeting had been arranged by Harriman and that he hadnt known that Zuhair would be there.) Perle, he insisted in February, is not a financial creature. He doesnt have any desire for financial gain.
Perle, in a series of telephone interviews, acknowledged that he had met with two Saudis at the lunch in Marseilles, but he did not divulge their identities. (At that time, I still didnt know who they were.) There were two Saudis there, he said. But there was no discussion of Trireme. It was never mentioned and never discussed. He firmly stated, The lunch was not about money. It just would never have occurred to me to discuss investments, given the circumstances. Perle added that one of the Saudis had information that Saddam was ready to surrender. His message was a plea to negotiate with Saddam.
When I asked Perle whether the Saudi businessmen at the lunch were being considered as possible investors in Trireme, he replied, I dont want Saudis as such, but the fund is open to any investor, and our European partners said that, through investment banks, they had had Saudis as investors. Both Perle and Hillman stated categorically that there were currently no Saudi investments.
Khashoggi professes to be amused by the activities of Perle and Hillman as members of the policy board. As Khashoggi saw it, Triremes business potential depended on a war in Iraq taking place. If there is no war, he told me, why is there a need for security? If there is a war, of course, billions of dollars will have to be spent. He commented, You Americans blind yourself with your high integrity and your democratic morality against peddling influence, but they were peddling influence.
When Perles lunch with Khashoggi and Zuhair, and his connection to Trireme, became known to a few ranking members of the Saudi royal family, they reacted with anger and astonishment. The meeting in Marseilles left Perle, one of the kingdoms most vehement critics, exposed to a ferocious counterattack.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who has served as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States for twenty years, told me that he had got wind of Perles involvement with Trireme and the lunch in Marseilles. Bandar, who is in his early fifties, is a prominent member of the royal family (his father is the defense minister). He said that he was told that the contacts between Perle and Trireme and the Saudis were purely business, on all sides. After the 1991 Gulf War, Bandar told me, Perle had been involved in an unsuccessful attempt to sell security systems to the Saudi government, and this company does security systems. (Perle confirmed that he had been on the board of a company that attempted to make such a sale but said he was not directly involved in the project.)
There is a split personality to Perle, Bandar said. Here he is, on the one hand, trying to make a hundred-million-dollar deal, and, on the other hand, there were elements of the appearance of blackmail If we get in business, hell back off on Saudi Arabiaas I have been informed by participants in the meeting.
As for Perles meeting with Khashoggi and Zuhair, and the assertion that its purpose was to discuss politics, Bandar said, There has to be deniability, and a cover storya possible peace initiative in Iraqis needed. I believe the Iraqi events are irrelevant. A business meeting took place.
Zuhair, however, was apparently convinced that, thanks to his discussions with Trireme, he would have a chance to enter into a serious discussion with Perle about peace. A few days after the meeting in Paris, Hillman had sent Khashoggi a twelve-point memorandum, dated December 26, 2002, setting the conditions that Iraq would have to meet. It is my belief, the memorandum stated, that if the United States obtained the following results it would not go to war against Iraq. Saddam would have to admit that Iraq has developed, and possesses, weapons of mass destruction. He then would be allowed to resign and leave Iraq immediately, with his sons and some of his ministers.
Hillman sent Khashoggi a second memorandum a week later, the day before the lunch with Perle in Marseilles. Following our recent discussions, it said, we have been thinking about an immediate test to ascertain that Iraq is sincere in its desire to surrender. Five more steps were outlined, and an ambitious final request was made: that Khashoggi and Zuhair arrange a meeting with Prince Nawaf Abdul Aziz, the Saudi intelligence chief, so that we can assist in Washington.
Both Khashoggi and Zuhair were skeptical of the memorandums. Zuhair found them absurd, and Khashoggi told me that he thought they were amusing, and almost silly. This was their thinking? he recalled asking himself. There was nothing to react to. While Harb was lobbying for Iraq, they were lobbying for Perle.
In my initial conversation with Hillman, he said, Richard had nothing to do with the writing of those letters. I informed him of it afterward, and he never said one word, even after I sent them to him. I thought my ideas were pretty clear, but I didnt think Saddam would resign and I didnt think hed go into exile. Im positive Richard does not believe that any of those things would happen. Hillman said that he had drafted the memorandums with the help of his daughter, a college student. Perle, for his part, told me, I didnt write them and didnt supply any content to them. I didnt know about them until after they were drafted.
The views set forth in the memorandums were, indeed, very different from those held by Perle, who has said publicly that Saddam will leave office only if he is forced out, and from those of his fellow hard- liners in the Bush Administration. Given Perles importance in American decision-making, and the risks of relying on a deal-maker with Adnan Khashoggis history, questions remain about Hillmans drafting of such an amateurish peace proposal for Zuhair. Prince Bandars assertionthat the talk of peace was merely a pretext for some hard sellingis difficult to dismiss.
Hillmans proposals, meanwhile, took on an unlikely life of their own. A month after the lunch, the proposals made their way to Al Hayat, a Saudi-owned newspaper published in London. If Perle had ever intended to dissociate himself from them, he did not succeed. The newspaper, in a dispatch headlined washington offers to avert war in return for an international agreement to exile saddam, characterized Hillmans memorandums as American documents and said that the new proposals bore Perles imprimatur. The paper said that Perle and others had attended a series of secret meetings in an effort to avoid the pending war with Iraq, and a scenario was discussed whereby Saddam Hussein would personally admit that his country was attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction and he would agree to stop trying to acquire these weapons while he awaits exile.
A few days later, the Beirut daily Al Safir published Arabic translations of the memorandums themselves, attributing them to Richard Perle. The proposals were said to have been submitted by Perle, and to outline Washingtons future visions of Iraq. Perles lunch with two Saudi businessmen was now elevated by Al Safir to a series of recent American-Saudi negotiations in which the American side was represented by Richard Perle. The newspaper added, Publishing these documents is important because they shed light on the story of how war could have been avoided. The documents, of course, did nothing of the kind.
When Perle was asked whether his dealings with Trireme might present the appearance of a conflict of interest, he said that anyone who saw such a conflict would be thinking maliciously. But Perle, in crisscrossing between the public and the private sectors, has put himself in a difficult positionone not uncommon to public men. He is credited with being the intellectual force behind a war that not everyone wants and that many suspect, however unfairly, of being driven by American business interests. There is no question that Perle believes that removing Saddam from power is the right thing to do. At the same time, he has set up a company that may gain from a war. In doing so, he has given ammunition not only to the Saudis but to his other ideological opponents as well.
Ian Traynor Saturday March 8, 2003 The Guardian
British intelligence claims that Saddam Hussein has been trying to import uranium for a nuclear bomb are unfounded and based on deliberately fabricated evidence, according to an investigation by the UN nuclear inspectors in Iraq.
The chief nuclear inspector for Iraq, Mohammed El Baradei, yesterday flatly contradicted Downing Street's and British intelligence's claims of attempted uranium smuggling by Iraq and said that the documents used to substantitate the British claim were "not authentic".
In a 55-page report last September detailing British intelligence evidence of Baghdad's ongoing attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, the government said that since 1998 "Iraq has sought the supply of significant supplies of uranium from Africa".
British officials named the state of Niger as the source of the uranium and passed their evidence to the UN nuclear watchdog, the international atomic energy agency, in Vienna.
"Close scrutiny and cross-checking of the documents, the letterheads on them, the signatures on them, led us to conclude with quite absolute certainty that the documents were false," an IAEA official said.
"They were fabricated," said another IAEA official.
The fabrication was transparently obvious and quickly established, the sources added, suggesting that British intelligence was either easily hoodwinked or a knowing party to the deceit.
There was no suggestion that the British were involved in falsifying the evidence which is believed to have been manufactured in Africa, probably in Niger, and then passed to western intelligence agencies.
NB: (a) All text within double-quotation marks are quotes from the following US Departments: The Trade & Development Agency and the Energy Information Agency of the Department of Energy - unless noted otherwise.(b) All italics are this authors'
There is an unmistakeable thread running through America's move eastward since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Using their vast economic clout - in the form of loans, grants and sanctions - and backed by threatening military supremacy (to say nothing of the devious use of 'unattributable' mercenary groups such as the MPRI), the Americans accomplished two objectives:
(a) dismembered federal Yugoslavia, thus delivering a death-blow to the last country in Europe still -in their eyes - tainted with 'communism'; and (b) the instability in the region which this inevitably created, supplied them with a reason/excuse for maintaining a strong military presence there, in the form of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo (built by Brown & Root, of whose parent company, Halliburton, the present Vice President of the US Dick Cheney was CEO).
It is worthy of note that Camp Bondsteel was situated within easy striking distance of the $826 million Trans-Balkan oil pipeline, known as Corridor 8, the construction of which had been awarded by the US Trade & Development Agency (of whom more later) to the Armenian-Macedonian-Bulgarian Corp (AMBO), following a feasibility study by the same Brown & Root. This pipeline would carry Caspian oil westwards, thereby circumventing the crowded Bosphorous, and, as such, would be a crucial - though dependent - component of the 'unmistakeable thread' mentioned in the opening sentence of this article. This implied 'dependency' merely reflects the more crucial importance of the vast oil reserves of the Caspian/Near-East region which would feed Corridor 8 (among others).
Indeed, it is particularly important to view America's role in this Near-East region in some detail if we are to gain an understanding of its objectives in the present impasse in which it has enmeshed itself. And there can hardly be a more effective means of doing this - than by examining relevant reports/papers of some of its administrations' departments: words that come 'straight from the horse's mouth' as it were. Of necessity, these reports must cover the period following the collapse of the USSR in 1991, inasmuch as it was only then that the USA could gain access to the critical Near-East and Balkan regions, thereby cosolidating their already well-established dominance over the Mid-East/Gulf region.
And what better organisation to start with than the Trade & Development Agency (TDA), set up in 1981 - and which, in 1991, had been authorised to operate in the New Independent States of the ex-USSR. It clearly sets out its aims in its May 2001 report: "The Trade & Development Agency (TDA), an independent US government agency, provides funding for US companies to conduct feasibility studies on major projects in developing and middle income countries ...TDA promotes economic development, while helping the US private sector get involved in projects that offer significant export opportunities"... Then adds that..."Exports of goods and services related specifically to those projects already total over $1,2 billion". Their 2000 report dealing with the TransBalkan Corridor 8 pipeline adds: "The longest lasting impact we can have is to bring US technology & investment to the Balkans through our private sector...While at the same time ensuring that American businesses have a fair shot at winning associated contracts". Disregarding the fact that there can not possibly be an 'independent' government agency - privatisation would now be 'the order of the day'.
As of September 2001, The TDA has provided $12,357,683 funding for US companies to conduct feasibility studies in the following Near-East states: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Krygystan, Tajikistan, Turkey & Uzbekistan. This region is of pivotal pertinence to this article as it is the source of large reserves of that money-making industry - oil and gas. And it need hardly be added that it is the one industry which has attracted the most attention from the Americans (in particular) - and understandably so.
In the report of the year 2000 of the Energy Information Agency (of the US Department of Energy): "The Caspian Sea region's oil & gas potential has attracted much attention since the break-up of the Soviet Union. The nations in the Caspian Sea region - Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakstan, Russia, Turkmenstan & Uzbekistan - are already major energy producers...The Caspian Sea is 7 hundred miles long & contains 6 separate hydrocarbon basins". Further, "the lure of these resources has drawn in foreign direct investment, which increased from $15 million in 1993..to $1.6 billion in 1998, equivalent to about 40% of Azerbaijan's GDP."... "And to encourage additional investment, President Aliyev (of Azerbaijan) has signed numerous treaties protecting the rights of foreign investors."
Azerbaijan, "the oldest known oil-producing region in the world experienced an oil boom at the beginning of the 20th century and later served as a major refining center in the former Soviet Union."
"Nagorno-Karabakh had been an autonomous region under Soviet rule. Soon after Azerbaijan's independence Armenian separatists declared control of Nagorno-Karabakh"...and .."displaced almost a million Azeris from about 20% of Azerbaijan." This led to a bloody war, as a result of which "The United States passed Section 907 of its Freedom Support Act (FSA) in October 1992, restricting US government assistance to Azerbaijan." A ceasefire was declared in 1994 and "in October 1998 US legislation..permitted exemptions to Section 907 of the FSA for democracy assistance, humanitarian assistance, prevention of the spread of weapons of mass destruction, as well as programs of the US Foreign Commercial Service, the US Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, OPIC." (OPIC's funds were controlled by the Soros Private Fund Management).
"In what was described as 'the deal of the century', The Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) signed an $8 billion, 30 year contract in September 1994 to develop 3 Caspian Sea fields...with total reserves estimated at 3.5 billion barrels.".. Holdings of the AIOC were as follows: BP 34.1%; TPAO 6.7%; Itochu 3.9%; Statoil 8.6%; Lukoil 10%; SOCAR (Azerb.) 10%; Delta-Hess 2.7%; Pennzoil 5.6%; Exxon 8%; Unocal 10.3%. (It is pertinent to add that James Baker [ex-Chief of Staff under Reagan, & ex-Secretary of State under Bush snr.] acted as legal representative for the AIOC).
"At the end of September 1998, Azerbaijan began the privatization of its first major energy enterprise, the Baku gas liquification plant. In addition, President Aliyev issued a decree privatizing the International Bank of Azerbaijan in November 1998."
"Azerigaz has signed agreements with both Statoil and Royal Dutch/Shell to help Azerbaijan to develop and export its gas."
While on the subject of Azerbaijan, it is pertinent to note that, as reported in the Azeri newspaper 'Azadlyg' of 6th of January 2000: (1) John Sununu (ex-Chief of Staff under Bush snr. and shareholder in the US RV Investment Group exploiting gold mines in Azerbaijan) had been an adviser to the Azeri government, while doing his best to persuade US Congressmen to lift the Section 907 ban on Azerbaijan (noted above); and (2) George Shultz (ex-President of Bechtel Group & ex-Secretary of State under Reagan), while on tour trying to persuade Azerbaijan to adopt a gas pipeline project, went so far as to refer to President Heydar Aliyev as Azerbaijan's 'George Washington'!
Georgia: Since its independence from the USSR in 1991, it has suffered from civil conflicts as a result of separatist struggles in Abkhazia, and South Ossetia - to say nothing of the more recent conflict along its border with Chechnya. "Although Georgia is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)...President Eduard Shevardnadse announced in February 1999 that his country would withdraw from the CIS's Collective Security Treaty. Integration with the west is moving forward, and President Eduard Shevardnadse's victory in the October 1999 parliamentary election was widely seen as a referendum on the president's pro-western policies."
"On March 8th 1996, the presidents of Georgia and Azerbaijan signed a 30-year agreement to pump some of AIOC's 'early oil' along a western route to the Georgian Black Sea port of Supsa. The Georgian International Oil Co., a subsidiary of the AIOC, upgraded the existing pipeline along this route and built the Supsa terminal on the Black Sea at a cost of $565 million. The pipeline became operational in April '99."
On June 26th 1997, Houston-based Frontera Resources Corp. signed a contract with the Georgian State Oil Co., Saknavtobi, to develop the Kura Basin and build a petroleum refinery near Tbilisi (the holdings were: Saknavtobi 50%; Frontera 30%; & Amerada Hess Corp. & Delta Oil Central Asia Ltd. 20%) - and the funding for same would be assisted by a $60 million loan from The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development. It is pertinent to note some of the more well-known names of Fronteras' Board members: Chairman William H. White (ex Deputy Sec. of Treasury under Clinton); President/CEO Steve Nicandros (ex-Pres. Conoco Int'l Operations); and Advisers John Deutch (ex-CIA Dir.) & Lloyd Bentsen (ex-Treasury Sec.).
"A coup attempt in 1998 led the chairman of the National Independence Party to call for NATO or the United States to station a military contingent in Georgia to protect Caspian oil transport. In December 1998, representatives from the GUAM Group (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) held talks about setting up a special peacekeeping force to protect the oil export pipelines, with NATO to set up this force within the framework of the 'Partnership for Peace Program', which was established by NATO to strengthen ties with former Eastern Bloc and former Soviet states." The courtship between the 'communist' Shevardnadse and the capitalist James Baker from the days when the former was Foreign Minister and the latter Secretary of State would now end in wedlock!
"Kazakhstan is important to world energy markets because it contains significant oil & gas reserves"...and... "is the second largest oil producer among the former Soviet republics- after Russia. Kazakhstan has opened its resources to development by foreign companies... 'production sharing agreements' (PSA's) & exploration/field concessions. By far the largest of these is the TengizChevroil joint venture."
"In April 1993, Chevron completed a historic $20 billion, 50/50 joint venture deal with Kazakhstan to create the TengizChevroil to develop the Tengiz oil field, estimated to contain 6 - 9 billion barrels of oil.".."In April 1996, Mobil announced that it had purchased from the Kazakhstan government a 25% share in the consortium developing Tengiz." "Conoco is moving forward with a plan to ship 1.5 million metric tons of liquid natural gas (LNG)/ year from Kazakhstan and Turkmenestan across the Caspian to Baku, where it would then be shipped by rail to Georgian ports."...."Conoco has set up a joint venture with Georgia's Ajargazi railway and a Turkish partner, and has also spent $600,000 to install facilities at the Georgian port of Batumi."
In November 1998, Russia approved the construction of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) 900 mile, $2.3 billion pipeline from the Tengiz oil field to the Black Sea port of Novorossisk. "CPC members include Russia (24%), Kazakhstan (19%), Chevron (15%), LukArco (12.5% [Russia/US]), Mobil (7.5%), Rosneft-Shell (7.5% [Russia-UK/Netherlands]), Oman (7%), BG (2% [UK]), Agip (2% [Italy]), Kazakhstan Pipeline Ventures (1.75%), and Oryx (1.75% [US])." (Note: the ubiquitous National Security Adviser to Bush jnr., Condoleezza Rice, sat on Chevron's board from 1991 to 2001).
From testimony of Robert W. Gee, Assistant Secretary for policy of the US Department of Energy to the House Committee on International Relations: "Total foreign direct investment in Kazakhstan's oil & gas sector from 1991 through 1996 was approximately $2 billion. Total commitments for new, future direct investment in Kazakhstan's oil & gas development now stands at over $35 billion...TengizChevroil..reported profits of $80 million - up from only $1 million in 1995."
"Mobil, Shell and Chevron are conducting a feasibility study on building a pipeine from Aktau, in western Kazakhstan, to Baku."
"Kazakhoil, Katransoil, British Gas, Lukoil, AGIP and Texaco have signed an agreement to construct a new 285 mile pipeline to transport the condensate from Bolshoy Chagan to Atyrau, where it will connect with the CPC pipeline." "Turkey's strategic location makes it a natural 'energy bridge' between major oil producing areas in the Middle-East and Caspian Sea regions on the one hand, and consumer markets in Europe on the other. Turkey's port of Ceyhan is an important outlet both for current Iraqi oil export as well as for potential future Caspian oil exports."
"In late June 1998, the Turkish government signed an unconvential 18-month agreement with the IMF in which Turkey pledged to cut its inflation rate to 50% by year-end 1998, and to 20% by year-end 1999. Under the deal, the IMF is to monitor and endorse Turkey's economic policies...In particular, the IMF is pushing for reforms in banking, agriculture, social security, and privatisation. In July 1999, the Turkish government agreed to a controversial privatisation agreement to article 47 of their constitution, which regulates nationalisation permitting private entities to be taken over by the government...This could help pave the way for multi-billion dollar energy investments in Turkey."(It would seem that the Turks are facing a similar situation today, in March 2003!!!).
"Turkey has been attempting to show that the Baku-Ceyhan line is cost-competitive compared to alternate routes. In late May 1998, former US Secretary of Energy, Federico Pena, during a trip to Turkey, reiterated US support for this plan."
"Turkey's sole private refinery is ATAS, near Marsin on the Mediterranean coast, a joint venture of Mobil (51%), Shell (27%), British Petroleum (17%) and local Marmara Petrol ve Rafineri Islem AS (5%)."
A Turkish consortium won a bid "to construct the 46 inch, 160 mile pipeline from Dogubayazit, on the Iranian border, to Erzurum" - to carry Iranian gas. This "brought criticism from the US for political reasons. The deal also initially appeared to violate the Iran-Libya Sanctions act (ILSA)...However, because Iran will only receive transit fees for moving the gas to Turkey, the United States determined that Turkey was not in violation of the ILSA"
"Turkmenistan is important to world energy markets because it contains over 100 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, the third largest in the world."..and..."After declining during the early 1990's, Turkmenistan's oil production has been steadily increasing since 1995."
"In March 1998, the UK's Monument Oil (which has since been taken over by Lasmo Oil) reached an agreement with Iran's National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC) to provide oil from the offshore Burun field in western Turkmenestan to the northern border of Iran and swap it for oil to be exported from the Persian Gulf.".. Stakes in the Burun field: Lasmo (35%), Mobil (40%), & Burren Energy (25%). "The oil swaps began in late July 1998", although, because "Mobil is barred by US law from trading with Iran...in April1999, the request was formally denied."
"In July 1998, Monument Oil signed two 'production sharing agreements' (PSA's) with Mobil and Turkmeneft... Mobil is the operator, holding a 52.4% interest, Monument with 27.6%, and Turkmeneft with 20%. By 2001, Mobil & Monument are expected to invest $100 million conducting seismic surveys and drilling appraisal wells."
A dispute arose between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan over the the offshore Serdar oil & gas field, and "in June 1998, Mobil won the right..to develop the field"..but "announced that it would not sign an agreement with Turkmenistan or begin work on the field until the two countries settle the dispute. US special envoy for Caspian energy issues Richard Morningstar made a visit to the two capitals in May 1999, and presented US ideas on resolution of the dispute."
"As part of its strategy to increase natural gas exports, Turkenmenistan is developing alternatives to Russia's pipeline network. The most important proposed project is the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP), which would run from Turkmenistan under the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan, through Georgia, and deliver its gas supply to Turkey."...."Shell endorsed the TCGP plan in August 1999...and agreed to take a 50% stake in the pipeline, with the rest being held by the pipeline developer PSG (a joint venture between Bechtel & GE Capital)"... "Turkish and American officials have strongly supported the TCGP, including a visit by US Secretary of Energy, Bill Richardson, (ex-US UN representative under Clinton) to Turkmenistan in August 1999 to promote the project....and the US Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corp. OPIC (see above) have pledged to assist with guarantees."
"In July 1997, officials from Turkmenistan and Pakistan and representatives from Unocal & Saudi Arabia's Delta Oil signed an agreement to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan line" (900 mile long; cost of between $2 billion & $2.7 billion). "In October 1997, Unocal (of California) set up the Central Asian Gas Pipeline (CentGas) consortium." (Holdings: Unocal 46.5%; Delta Oil 15%; Turkmenistan Gov't 7%; Indonesia Petroleum/INPEX [Japan] 6.5%; ITOCH/CIECO [Japan] 6.5%; Hyundai Engineering [S.Korea] 5%; The Crescent Group [Pakistan] 3.5%)....(Unocal gave a grant of $900,000 to the University of Nebraska to train Afghans to build this pipeline). "On August 22 1998, Unocal suspended construction plans due to the continuing civil war in Afghanistan"
....(though it is recently reported that Unocal renewed dialogue with partners in 2000)
"Uzbekistan contains significant oil & gas reserves, and currently as the world's eighth largest natural gas producer."...Uzbekistan did not conform to the reform plan instigated by the IMF and EBRD in 1994, as a result of which 17 US companies - including Enron and Unocal - ceased operating there. As the DOE put it: "Privatization in Uzbekistan has also been lagging."
However, "Uzbekistan has substantially increased its oil production since independence, with total oil production (including natural gas liquids) increasing from 66,000 barrels per day in 1992 to an estimated 213.000 bbl/d in 1999."... "Uzbekistan has approved a joint project between Baker Hughes and Uzbekneftegaz to increase oil production at North Urtabulak, and Baker Hughes will invest $8 million in the project. Baker Hughes also has the option to develop the Adamtash, South Kemachi. and Umid fields, with total investments of $120 million."
"Texaco and Uneftepererabotka Formed the UZ-Texaco joint venture at the Fergana refinery in 1996 to produce and market Texaco-branded engine, transmission and hydraulic lubricants fro local crude oil. UZ-Texaco is one of the few companies with a license to convert earnings in Sums (local currency) into dollars. Following a 1998 tender, Mitsui commenced a $200 million upgrade to expand desulphurisation capacity at the Fergana refinery."
"Uzbekistan has been developing domestic uses for its plentiful gas, such as converting its cars & trucks to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) instead of gasoline, and developing a network of CNG filling stations. A joint venture with American Engineering Inc. is already under development for this purpose."
The forgoing is by no means a comprehensive account of Corporate Americas' incursions into the Near-East, but is detailed enough - witness enough - to reflect the crucial role that the oil & gas industry has been playing - and is playing - in contemporary events in the Mid & Near-East regions. But it must never be forgotten that it is not the product itself that is the crux of the matter - rather, it is the socioeconomic system within which the product is exploited and dispensed that determines its effect on world events: that is the crux of the matter!
To: [Recipients withheld]
From: FRANK KOZA, Def Chief of Staff (Regional Targets) CIV/NSA
Sent on Jan 31 2003 0:16
Subject: Reflections of Iraq Debate/Votes at UN-RT Actions + Potential for Related Contributions
As you've likely heard by now, the Agency is mounting a surge particularly directed at the UN Security Council (UNSC) members (minus US and GBR of course) for insights as to how to membership is reacting to the on-going debate RE: Iraq, plans to vote on any related resolutions, what related policies/ negotiating positions they may be considering, alliances/ dependencies, etc - the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises. In RT, that means a QRC surge effort to revive/ create efforts against UNSC members Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, as well as extra focus on Pakistan UN matters.
We've also asked ALL RT topi's to emphasize and make sure they pay attention to existing non-UNSC member UN-related and domestic comms for anything useful related to the UNSC deliberations/ debates/ votes. We have a lot of special UN- related diplomatic coverage (various UN delegations) from countries not sitting on the UNSC right now that could contribute related perspectives/ insights/ whatever. We recognize that we can't afford to ignore this possible source.
We'd appreciate your support in getting the word to your analysts who might have similar, more in-direct access to valuable information from accesses in your product lines. I suspect that you'll be hearing more along these lines in formal channels - especially as this effort will probably peak (at least for this specific focus) in the middle of next week, following the SecState's presentation to the UNSC.
Thanks for your help